Category Archives: Marine Life

Ugly mug: aquatics!


Not everything in the animal kingdom is an lovely songbird with beautiful wings or a cute crustacean bobbing along the ocean floor or a fuzzy little kitten on your lap or adorable snakey nuzzling your neck (you get my point)… some creatures are just unpleasant!

Here are a three examples of the weird and wonderful, but not necessarily cute, beasties in the animal kingdom… starting with the world of water!

1) Blobfish

Usually found in lists of animals not winning any beauty awards! This poor fella has a rep for having an ugly mug – living in the murky deep off the coast of Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, this fish grows up to 12″ and has a low-density, giving it the jelly/blob look which actually aids in in bobbing along in the high-pressured deep.

However, as you can see fron the inage above, they’re a lot less vlob-like underwater! Unlike most fish species, the Blobfish doesn’t have a swimbladder to keep it afloat but rather their blobby structure and the pressure of the deep work together to keep them floating. The Blobfish isn’t very active, and pretty much just waits for food to pass by.

This little guy was actually voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal” in 2013! Out of water (see image below) – you can see why it won that title!

2) Axolotl

I know (personally) a few people think the Axolotl is quite cute but I have never seen the appeal so they have made my little list of ugly aquatic animals. The Axolotl only lives in the lakes of Xochimilco, Mexico (and in various homes/ tanks around the world) and is the top predator in its’ habitat.

Axolotls can grow up to a foot in length, however usually only reach half a foot. This ugly little salamander has the ability of regrowth – it can regrow a limb if lost! Despite this fascinating ability the Axolotl is critically endangered and on the decline.

Colouration is usually mottled brown or black; however white, albino and piebald variations do occur – but usually in captive environments. I personally think the albino and white colouration’s are uglier than the other variations, as they give the appearance of being almost translucent! They have a dorsal fin running from the neck to the tip of the tail, and external gills with a feathered appearance – this is unusual in salamanders; as such the Axolotl is considered to be aesthetically neonatal, as it stays in larval form throughout its’ life.

3) Goblin Shark

This is a shark of many names; the scientific name being Mitsukurina owstoni named after Kakichi Mitsukuri and Alan Owston – the two people who discovered this unusual shark species. It is mainly found off the bays of Japan, however can also be found off the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, USA (California and Florida), Brazil, Portugal, France, South Africa, Taiwan, and Sri Lanka. in Japan the Goblin Shark is known as tenguzame (Tengu being a long-nosed mythical demon creature, and zame meaning ‘same’). Along those lines, it i known as Gnome or Demon Shark in Portugal; in USA it is known as Goblin or Elfin Shark.

This amazing and ugly looking shark has nail like teeth, set in a flexible jaw under a long, protruding, pointy nose. The see the unusual bite action of the Goblin Shark watch this amazing YouTube video – the jaws spring forward out of the mouth in a pincer-like grab (protrusive jaws)… showing that’s looks aren’t everything! The Goblin Shark is pinky in appearance due to the blood vessels being close to the surface of the skin, and can grow to over 10ft in length.

The last Goblin Shark sighting was in 2000 – before that the last sighting is said to have been in the early 1970’s. As such, there are few photographs of this ugly mug!


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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Rare Species: Vaquita


The Vaquita is the rarest marine mammal in the world; a little porpoise, that wasn’t discovered until 1958. Now, almost 60 years on and they are on the brink of extinction. They are often caught in nets in marine protected areas, within Mexico’s Gulf of California, and drown as a result. Sadly, more than half of the population has been lost in the last three years.

The Vaquita is pale grey along its’ sides, dark grey on the dorsal surface (on top), and light grey/ white ventral surface (along the bottom). They have dark rings around the eyes and lips, and a dark thin line from the lips to the pectoral (front, side) fins. Newborns are darker in colour, with pale grey along the dorsal surface and head.

Since the freshwater River Dolphin species, the Baiji, went extinct in 2006 the Vaquita has taken the title of the world’s most endangered cetacean. As of 2016, there is suspected to be less than 30 left in the wild; a drastic drop in numbers since 1997 when there were approximately 600 in the wild.

The poaching of the endangered Totoaba fish, for its’ swim bladder – a Chinese delicacy, using gill-nets (fixed fishing nets) is the main cause of the Vaquita’s declining numbers. Vaquita’s get caught in gill-nets, and drown, as they cannot get free to get to the surface for air.

Gill-nets, though usually put in place for a single species, do not discriminate – many different species get caught, and often die. Whales, dolphins and porpoises all get trapped – some get away with injuries, whilst most die.

Dr. Anna Hall, of the Porpoise Conservation Society, said, There is nothing else we need to worry about other than gill-nets. If we remove the gill-nets, we will likely save the Vaquita.”


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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World Penguin Day – 25 April 2017


In a few days it’s World Penguin Day! Today (22nd April) is Earth Day – so I’ve decided to post my penguin post a few days early… Penguins are distributed across the Earth, and come in various sizes and appearances. Penguins are flightless, aquatic birds (of varying sizes and habitats).

There are 17 species of penguin worldwide:

  1. Adélie penguins (Pygoscelis adeliae)
    This mid-sized penguin, of the Pygoscelis genus, weighs on average 4.5-5 kg (10-11 lbs) and is only 68-70 cm (27-27.5 “) in height. Adélie penguins live on the Antarctic continent and many surrounding islands. They can dive up to 175 m (575 ft) below the surface and can hold their breath under water for up to 6 minutes, but usually only dive for 2-3 minutes a time.
    Average wild lifespan: 20 years.
  2. African penguins (Spheniscus demersus)
    Also known as “Jackass penguin” due to their donkey-like vocalisations. Populations of this species are distributed across Namibia and South Africa. They can dive up to 99.9 m (328 ft), and hold their breath for over 2 minutes. On average, they grow to a height of 60 cm (2 ft / 24″) and weigh 2.3-4 kg (5.25-9 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 12 years.
  3. Chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarctica)
    These little penguins are the smallest of the three species in the Pygoscelis genus, the Chinstrap weighs in at 3-6 kg (7-13 lbs) and has an average height of 71-76 cm (28-30″). Ranging across a variety of locations (Antarctica, Argentina, Bouvet Island, Chile, the Falkland Islands, the French Southern Territories, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands); Chinstrap penguins do not often dive deeper than approximately 70 m (200 ft), for no longer than 1 minute at a time.
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  4. Emperor penguins (Aptenodytes forsteri)
    The largest and heaviest of all penguin species; the Emperor penguin weighs on average 23 kg (50.7 lbs) and reaches 1.1-1.3 m (3.6-4.2 ft) in height. Native to Antarctica, these penguins can dive up to 565 m (1,850 ft) below the surface and can hold their breath under water for up to 20 minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 20 years.
  5. Erect-crested penguins (Eudyptes sclateri)
    Belonging to the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins) the Erect-crested penguin is found  on the Bounty island and the Antipodes island of New Zealand. They tend to feed in the shallows, and therefore tend to keep to short, shallow dives; however, to forage for food when scarce they can dive deep. Weighing 2.5-6 kg (5.5-13.2 lbs) and growing to 65-60 cm (25.5-27.5″).
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  6. Fiordland penguins (Eudyptes pachyrhynchus)
    Also belonging to the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins) the Fiordland penguins can be found on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Not a lot has been recorded about the marine ecology of the Fiordland, however studies show that they tend to take short, shallow dives. This species grows to a height of 55-60 cm (1.8-2 ft / 22-23.6″) and usually weigh 4 kg (8.8 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 10-20 years.
  7. Galapagos penguins (Spheniscus mendiculus)
    The mid-sized Galapagos penguin weighs in at 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) and reach 49 cm (19.2″) in height. This is the only penguin species found in the Galápagos (hence the name), and north of the equator; however most are found among the western islands of Fernandina and Isabela. Diving to depths of 7.9-54.8 m (26-180 ft), with dives lasting an average of 3+ minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 9.5 years.
  8. Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua)
    Third largest of all penguin species (and largest of the Pygoscelis genus), Gentoos weigh 5-8.5 kg (11-19 lbs) and reach 51-90 cm (20-35″) in height. They range across many sub antarctic islands, and dive for 7 minutes at a time (on average) at depths of up to 200 m (665 ft).
    Average wild lifespan: 15 years.
  9. Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti)
    This med-size penguin stands at an average height of 70 cm (27.5″) tall, and weighs  4 kg (8.8 lbs) on average. The Humboldt penguin is native to the Peruvian and Chilean coasts; holding their breath underwater for an average of 2 minutes, diving to depths of 15 m (49.2 ft).
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  10. King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus )
    The second largest and second heaviest of all penguin species, not too dissimilar in appearance to the Emperor; the King penguin weighs in at 15 kg (33 lbs) and reach just under 1 m in height (0.9 m / 3.1 ft). They inhabit a variety of sub antarctic islands, and usually dive to 100 m (330 ft) for feeding, but have been recorded at diving over 500 m (1,600 ft). King penguins can hold their breath under water for 20 minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  11. Little (Blue) penguins (Eudyptula minor)
    This species is the smallest penguin species in the world! Standing at only 30-33 cm (11.8-13″) tall, and weighing in at 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs). They can be found around New Zealand and Southern Australia; the deepest recorded dive is 72 m (236 ft), however on average dive only 5-20 m (16.4-65.6 ft) – holding their breath for approximately 2 minutes at a time before surfacing for air.
    Average wild lifespan: 6 years.
  12. Macaroni penguins (Eudyptes chrysolophus)
    One of the larger species of the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins), the Macaroni penguin is distributed across Antarctic Peninsula, Bouvet, Prince Edward islands, Heard Island, the Falkland islands, Marion, Crozet, Kerguelen, Chile, Argentina, South Georgia, South Sandwich, South Orkneys, and South Shetlands. They dive for an average of 2-3 minutes at a time, usually between 15-70 m (49.3- 229.6 ft) but can reach depths of 100 m (330 ft). On average, Macaroni penguins grow to 70 cm (27.5″) and weigh 5.5 kg (12.1 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 15 years.
  13. Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus)
    The Magellanic penguin weighs 60-75 cm (23.6-29.5″) and is 2.5-6.5 kg (5.5-13.3 lbs) in height. Studies show that this species dives anywhere between 6-90 m (19.6-295.2 ft); 66.5-68 m (218-223 ft) on average. Distributed across the coasts of Argentina, southern Chile, and the Falkland Islands.
    Average wild lifespan: 25+ years.
  14. Rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome)
    Another penguin of the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins) this little species weighs just 2.3-3 kg (5-6.6 lbs), and is on average 51 cm (20″) in height. They can dive up to 100 m (330 ft), however tend to stick to the shallows; capable of holding their breath for approximately 6-10 minutes.
    Northern Rockhopper penguins are mostly found in the Gough Island, Tristan da Cunha, and throughout the Atlantic Ocean. Southern Rockhopper penguins are found in Southern Chile, the Falkland Islands, Auckland Islands, Isla Noir and Isla de los Estados, Prince Edward Islands, Diego Ramirez Islands, Campbell Island, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Antipodes, and Heard Island.
    Average wild lifespan: 10 years.
  15. Royal penguins (Eudyptes schlegeli)
    Also belonging to the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins), are 70 cm (27.5″) in height and 4-8 kg (8.8-17.6 lbs) in weight, on average. Found on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island and surrounding islands; diving between 50-150 m (164-492 ft) for food, for approximately 5-10 minutes.
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  16. Snares penguins (Eudyptes robustus)
    The final species of the Eudyptes Genus (crested penguins), this species stands at 55-70 cm (21.5-27.5″) in height, and weighs 3-4 kg (6.5-8.8 lbs). They usually take short dives at depths of between 20-40 m (65.6-131.2 ft); however, for longer foraging trips, can reach depths of 120 m (393.7 ft). They are found off the coast of New Zealand, and The Snares islands (hence their name).
    Average wild lifespan: 15-20 years.
  17. Yellow-eyed penguins (Megadyptes antipodes)
    The Yellow-eyes penguin population is spread across Campbell Island, Stewart Island, Auckland Island, South Island of New Zealand, and the Otago Peninsula. They dive between 39.9-120 m (131-394 ft) for an average of 3.5 minutes. This species grows to a height of 65-73.6 cm (2.1-2.4 ft / 25.5-29″) and usually weigh 4.3-8.5 kg (9.5-18.75 lbs).
    Average wild lifespan: 10 years.

     


    All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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International Day of the Seal (22.03.17)


International Day of the Seal is a day to raise awareness of the cruel practise of seal hunting – it was declared a universal day by congress in 1982.

This day has, however, become an international day to recognise the plight of seals worldwide – not just those endangered from hunting, but those endangered by other causes too.

Harp seals are hunted in Canada in the largest marine mammal hunt in the world! This hunt is supposed to be of adult seals only (once all the white fluff is gone); however this is, unfortunately, not the reality – too often seal pups are killed, for their fluffy white pelt. This is a sport. There is no necessity for this brutality – there is a ban on selling the pelts, the seals are not hunted for meat, it is not a cull to control population… Around the world, many other seal species are also hunted for sport.

Other issue many seal species face include being hunted for meat/ blubber, being caught in fishing nets, pollution, destruction of habitat, and lack of food (often due to human greed).

In my opinion; we need to step up and start caring for animals – we are responsible for what we do to our planet, and the species we share it with. More and more species are becoming endangered and extinct; we need to change attitudes and protect animals.


All images are open source, Google images, or my own – or photos donated for use by the pet owners.


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National Shamu Day – 26 September 2016


The performing Orca’s at Sea World are all given the stage name Shamu. The first Shamu was a female Orca (Killer Whale) captured in October, 1965; appearing in the San Diego Sea World. She died in August, 1971 – after a mere 6 years in captivity. Captured by and for Griffin’s Seattle Public Aquarium, she was named Shamu and was to live with three other Orca’s captured from the wild. However, she didn’t get on with the other Orca’s and, as such, was sold to Sea World in December, 1965.

"Shamu" - open source image
“Shamu” – open source image

Orca’s are the largest species of dolphin (despite being known as Killer Whale’s). Like all dolphins, Orca’s form strong bonds within their pod (group of Orca’s), which is usually made up of family members. They become distressed when separated as they are very social.

I feel that the point of posting this today is not to celebrate the Shamu show, or the use of Orca’s for entertainment by Sea World and other companies (over the years); but rather to raise awareness of the conditions this wild species is subjected to due to human selfishness.

We (humans) have taken this wild mammal out of the sea, away from family/ pod, and destroyed any hope of a normal life for the animal – and we have done this over and over again.  We have then bred captive Orca’s; resulting in still-born or very short-lived calves for the first several attempts. All of this was done at the expense of the species, with no consideration for them or the family/ pod left behind; for our own selfish gain. And we’re still doing it; still exploiting this wild species for our own benefit. I believe this needs to stop.

Shamu: Tilikum - open source image
“Shamu” – open source image

Spare a thought today for these poor animals in less than satisfactory, captive conditions; unable to perform natural behaviour and suffering poor health (such as bent dorsal fin) due to these conditions – as this is what they are experiencing right now as you read this. Also spare a thought for the pods which lost a member when humans took Orca’s from the wild originally; Orca’s (as with other dolphins) have been know to grieve for the loss or separation of group/ family members.

Aside from the Orca’s themselves; think of the number of unnecessary injuries and deaths of trainers and other people caused by these wild animals in captivity, and the families that suffered the loss.

These majestic creatures belong in the ocean; not a tiny pool doing tricks.

Wild Orca Pod - open source image
Wild Orca Pod – open source image

To see my previous Shamu post from earlier in the year, which specifically focuses on the Orca named Tilikum (one of the Shamu Orca’s at Sea World), please click here .

Shamu: Tilikum


I have started a series of posts covering the basics of an A-Z of cat breeds; however, I am taking time out to write this post to cover quite a sad and angering (in my opinion) topic.

Please click on the turquoise words/ phrases for links to videos, images and definitions. The links are external sources, and not my own material. 

You may have seen various posts recently reporting that one of the Orca’s that bears the show name Shamu and performs at SeaWorld, has gotten ill recently and it’s looking like it’s close to the end for him. Tilikum is one of several Orca’s that perform as Shamu; he is the same Shamu that has killed several people, including several of his trainers.

If you have seen the film documentary Blackfish then you will know a lot of what this post is saying; if not, I would highly recommend it – for your own education if nothing more – but be prepared to be moved (grab the tissues if you are prone to tears when watching emotional films).

Tilikum was separated from his pod (group of Orca’s) and from his mother at two years of age, by some men in boats. He was taken from the wild, the water, his mother, his pod; in November of 1983 off the coast of Iceland. Orca’s are the largest species of dolphin (despite being known as Killer Whale’s), and like all dolphins are very familial – forming strong bonds within the pod, which is usually made up of family members. They get distressed when separated and are very social. Tilikum was robbed of this at two years old; not to mention the distress this will have caused his mother and the rest of his pod.

He was housed in a small pool in an Icelandic zoo for close to one year, awaiting a transfer to a marine park. This pool was so small that poor Tilikum could only float at the surface and swim in circles. Orca’s migrate vast distances throughout their lives, and travel hundreds of miles daily – having the whole ocean to explore! At only two years old Tilikum was robbed of not just his pod and socialisation; but also his space, freedom, and ability to perform natural behaviours.

Finally, Tilikum was transferred to a 35 ft deep (50 x 100 ft) pool at Sealand of the Pacific Park, Canada. He spent his time in this time pool, as an attraction in the Park. Sealand ‘trained’ Tilikum by withholding food (negative, punishment technique), and was often bullied by two adult female Orca’s also in captivity at Sealand – housed with Tilikum (who was bottom of the social hierarchy). Due to the aggressive behaviour from the older females, Tilikum was moved into the smaller, medical pool for his own safety.

In 1991 came the first death. Tilikum, along with the two females, drowned a part-time Sealand trainer. Twenty-one year old, Keltie Byrne, was a marine biology student. She slipped into the pool and the animals never let her leave. Dragging her away from the life-ring thrown to her, and keeping her submerged. Apparently, unbeknown to the staff, both females were pregnant at the time. The behaviour was protective in their conditions, and (as with other pregnant mammals) their hormones will have been changing with the pregnancies. The stress of captivity had led to the first human death by Tilikum. Never-the-less this was a great tragedy. Sealand closed shortly after and put Tilikum up for sale.
Nothing was done about Tilikum or his behaviour.

In 1992 Tilikum was purchased by, and transferred to SeaWorld. SeaWorld had purchased the largest, captive bull Orca for their breeding programme. Over 50% of the world’s captive Orca’s are fathered by Tilikum.

In the years that followed, at SeaWorld, Tilikum developed became more aggressive and there were more aggressive incidents involving people. He developed stereotypical behaviours in captivity, including gnawing the concrete sides and metal gates of his enclosure – wearing his teeth down.

In 1999 there was another death; Daniel P. Dukes. He had broken in to SeaWorld, eluded security, and ended up in Tilikums’ pool. Reports said that he drowned in the pool; however the body, when recovered and examined, was covered in teeth marks and showed that Daniel had sustained injuries from Tilikum (including missing some body parts). There was significant damage that it was not determined if he had drowned, and Tilikum had attacked the body afterwards; or if Tilikum had killed him. No drugs or alcohol were reported in Daniel’s system by the coroner. He is commonly considered the second death caused by Tilikum. Daniel P. Dukes was found in the morning, on the back of Tilikum, as he swam around his pool at the surface. Unfortunately, the true cause of his death is still unknown – or at least, still not public knowledge.
Nothing was done about Tilikum or his behaviour.

As if this wasn’t enough, in 2010  Dawn Brancheau was pulled, by Tilikum, either by her pony-tail or arm – there is discrepancy between eyewitness accounts – leading to investigations into the history of other Orca attacks – and dragged her into the pool. Tilikum proceeded to ‘play’ with her, throwing and thrashing her around, until she died. Dawn suffered many injuries from Tilikum, before he killed her. In August 2010, SeaWorld was fined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for three safety violations, two directly related to Dawn’s death.
Tilikum was isolated in a tiny pool for a year, before being returned to performing in 2011.

Now, March 2016, poor Tilikum is fighting a bacterial lung infection. He is dying from this disease. This animal has suffered at the hand of mankind since age two, he is now thirty-five years old. The collapsed dorsal fin is extremely rare in wild Orca’s; it is a sign of stress, poor health and nutrition. His aggression went ignored, despite the deaths he was linked to. An aggressive dog will be neutered, a dog that bites will be euthanised – Tilikum was aggressive due to human intervention in his life, and his captivity. Tilikum was bought for breeding – and (whether possible or not) would not be neutered to reduce aggression as he then could not be used in SeaWrold’s breeding programme. He was not released back into the wild; after too long in captivity, he may not have survived if he was released back. He was not euthanised after causing the deaths of multiple people. He was not provided with a private, captive, suitable environment – away from tourists. He was given no help, no alternative.

He is a stunning, graceful animal who has suffered a cruel life. His aggression has not been addressed, save for the poor decision of isolating this social animal for a whole year, before bringing him back into performing.

It is looking like a tragic end to a tragic life, for Tilikum.

Shamu: Tilikum - open source image
Shamu: Tilikum – open source image

 

 

Shark Week 2015 (5th-11th July)


This week is Shark Week – from Sunday 5th July until Saturday 11th July, 2015. Personally, I think Sharks are magnificent creatures – however, there are few Shark species I’d like to get too close to!

What is a Shark?

A Shark is a type of fish. They have a cartilaginous skeleton, gills, scales, and predominant dorsal (back) and caudal (tail) fins. Sharks are primarily marine fish, however a number do inhabit freshwater, such as; the Bull Shark.

Bull Shark
Bull Shark
Feeding and Hunting

Generally, Sharks are carnivorous; they will eat fish, crustaceans, seals and dolphins (and other large mammals) – and will even eat other Sharks! These Shark species either rip/ tear their food, or will swallow it whole (if it’s small enough). Sharks do not chew their food, but rather swallow any chunks, ripped off, whole.

Some larger Shark species, such as; the Whale Shark, Basking Shark, and Megamouth Shark; will feed on plankton and small fish. These Shark species are filter feeders; and filter their food through their large mouths, and consume large amounts of small types of food.

Whale Shark
Whale Shark

Some Shark species hunt in packs, due to their social structure, such as; Lemon Sharks. However, most species hunt alone – but will tolerate the presence of other Sharks feeding if the food is plentiful; usually giving way to the largest to eat first.

Lemon Shark group
Lemon Shark group
Shark Species

There are over 400 species of sharks worldwide. From the smallest species, the Dwarf Lantern Shark, measuring just over 8 inches/ 21 cm; to the largest species, the Whale Shark, measuring over 12.5 metres/ 14.5 ft.

Some of the most aggressive Shark species include; the Tiger Shark, the Great White, the Bull Shark.

Tiger Shark
Tiger Shark

Sharks come in various shapes and sizes, amongst the diversity; some species have a more distinguished looks, such as; the Goblin Shark, the Cookie Cutter Shark, the Hammerhead Shark, the Australian Ghost Shark, the Saw Shark, the Angel Shark, and the Frilled Shark.

Goblin Shark
Goblin Shark

All images are open source, Google images – not my own.

Smallest Species – Cetacea; Dolphin and Whale


Maui’s Dolphin – the smallest dolphin in the world
  • A sub-species of the very small Hector’s Dolphin
  • They only live in New Zealand’s shallow coastal waters
  • This little species is at risk of becoming extinct
  • Approximately only 55 individuals left in the wild
  • Fully grown the Maui’s dolphin is between 1.2-1.4m long
  • Adults weigh approximately 50kg
  • The lifespan of the Maui’s dolphin is around 20 years
  • Calves are 50-60cm in length when born; large compared to their mother
  • Grey/black colouration, with white stripes along their sides, and a white underside
  • Only one single calf is born every 2-4 years; this means they are struggling to increase in number naturally, let alone after human poaching
  • Most of its time is spent feeding; however there is always time to play with seaweed, chase other dolphins, blow bubbles, and jump
Maui's Dolphin - image is open source
Maui’s Dolphin – open source Google image
Dwarf Sperm Whale – the smallest whale in the world
  • A sub-species of the Sperm Whale
  • They are blue-grey in colour, with a lighter underside
  • The Dwarf Sperm Whale is a protected species, although they are not considered under threat
  • They prefer warm tropical, subtropical, and temperate waters
  • Females can have a single calf each year
  • Calves are born measuring 1.0-1.2m in length
  • Fully grown, this whale reaches up to 2.7m in length
  • Adults weigh approximately 180-270kg
  • Their lifespan of the is around 22-25 years
  • Typically a solitary species, however can be found travelling in small pods (groups)
  • Fishing nets and marine debris are the biggest human threats to this species
Dwarf Sperm Whale (mother and calf) - open source image
Dwarf Sperm Whale (mother and calf) – open source Google image

National Visit the Zoo Day


In tribute to all the species kept in zoos and safari parks, enjoy some pictures of species that are wild, unusual, rarely seen (outside of zoos/ safari parks), and protected species/ last of their species.

Not everyone agrees with zoos or safari parks – there can certainly be improvements made; but on the other hand, we all enjoy visiting the zoo or safari park and taking in the exquisite and diverse animal species.