Tag: Dolphin

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 .

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

If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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Smallest Species – Cetacea; Dolphin and Whale

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
Want To Know More? Dolphins

Want To Know More? Dolphins

As a response to a message asking to know more about Dolphins, here is some information you may not have known…

Dolphins are highly intelligent marine mammals. The order Cetacean includes the marine mammals commonly known as whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Dolphins are part of the family of toothed whales Odontoceti; also including orcas (killer whales) and pilot whales. Most species live in tropical and temperate oceans throughout the world; a few species live in the world’s rivers (such as the endangered Amazon river dolphin a.k.a. the pink river dolphin). There are 36 species of dolphins – 32 marine species, and 4 river (freshwater)species.

Amazon River Dolphin
Amazon River Dolphin

Dolphins are carnivores, mostly eating crustaceans, fish and squid. They have clever methods of catching fish, and getting a good meal out of big shoals. They trap the shoal close to the surface of the water, and blow bubble “walls” or “nets” to keep the shoal together. The dolphins then take it in turns between blowing bubbles and feeding. Some will also slide up onto beaches (almost beach themselves) to catch fish in the shallows.

Common Long-Beaked Dolphins Hunting

Dolphins, like bats, use echolocation to navigate and hunt, bouncing high-pitched sounds off of objects, and listening for the echoes. They can find food, each other, navigate around their environment, and locate objects with echolocation. They have a special organ for echolocation known as the melon organ. The melon also helps with hearing via echolocation They use their teeth as a type of antennae so that they can receive information about incoming sounds. They get information about the size and the shape of the object, before they actually see it, through this process.  The melon is located in the forehead, in front of the skull.

Bottlenose Dolphin

 Dolphins have complex and large social and family groups. They are very loyal and will not abandon a family member in need or is in injured. Unfortunately, this makes them easier to hunt – humans have hunted them by trapping a few in shallower water and injuring them, the rest of their family will then not abandon them, and any relations of the others will not leave… you see my meaning (unfortunately).

A group of dolphins is known as a pod. The males are bulls, the females cows, and the young are known as calves.

Mother & Calf (Bottlenose)
Mother & Calf (Bottlenose)

Dolphins have such diverse appearances – big ones, small(er) ones, striped ones, spotted ones, plain ones, long beaks (snouts), short beaks, round heads, long heads, tall dorsal fin, short dorsal fine, arched back, straight back… The Largest of all dolphin species can grow to over 31 feet long when fully grown, which has provided them with the incorrect name of “whale” – the Orca, more commonly known as Killer Whale. The smallest known species is the Maui’s dolphin, growing up to 5 ft 6 – 7 inches. So to finish this post, here are some photo’s of different dolphin species of all shapes and sizes!
(Hover over , or click on, the individual images to see the species name)

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

If you have any questions or comments; please post a comment below, or contact Ali’s Answers via one of my social media pages…
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