Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Death at Moscow Dolphinarium

"On Friday a performing dolphin died by starvation in Moscow dolphinarium. This happening was brought to light by the head veterinary of the Pervomaysky region.

She stated that the animal died because of the nonprofessional work of the new owner of the dolphinarium. After the change of owner, all the trainers refused to work with the new head and left the dolphinarium.

The head of the company took new nonprofessional staff, but they could not continue the performances – the dolphins did not obey them.

The staff then used cruel measures to make the dolphins obey – they did not feed them and the dolphins did not get veterinary care. Thus the dolphins became emaciated and one of them died of starvation two days ago.

The police are investigating the details.


Sunday, 21 June 2009

Icelandic whalers bring in season's first big catches

Friday, June 19 08:02 pm

Icelandic whale hunters have brought in their first big catches of the season, two fin whales weighing around 35 tonnes each, an AFP photographer witnessed Friday.

The boat, Hvalur 9, arrived overnight Thursday to Friday at the port of Akranes, 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of capital Reykjavik, towing the bodies of the 20 metre (65 foot) long mammals.

The huge whales were swiftly carved up to separate the blubber from the meat, and a piece of meat was tasted by an inspector to check the quality.

Environmental campaign group Greenpeace condemned the catch, saying Iceland would pay a high price for continuing the controversial practice.

"What little profit (the whaler) may take from this fin whale hunt will come at a great cost to Iceland - economically and politically," warned Sara Holden, Greenpeace International's whale campaign coordinator.

Iceland's whaling season opened on May 26, amid fierce opposition from environmental groups angered by a sharp rise in quotas this year.

Iceland increased its quota to 100 minke whales and 150 fin whales, from a quota of 40 minke whales and nine fin whales last year.

Many species of whales are now endangered and hunting of the marine mammal was officially banned with a moratorium in 1986.

Iceland and Norway are the only two countries in the world that now authorise commercial whaling.

Iceland withdrew from the moratorium in 2006, and Norway in 1993, triggering an international outcry on both occasions.

Japan officially allows whaling for scientific purposes, but the meat is then sold to restaurants and supermarkets.


Mekong river dolphin near extinct: WWF

Thursday, June 18 08:17 am

Pollution in southeast Asia's Mekong River has pushed freshwater dolphins in Cambodia and Laos to the brink of extinction, an international conservation group said.

The World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) said only 64 to 76 Irrawaddy dolphins remain in the Mekong after toxic levels of pesticides, mercury and other pollutants were found in more than 50 calves who have died since 2003.

"These pollutants are widely distributed in the environment and so the source of this pollution may involve several countries through which the Mekong River flows," said WWF veterinary surgeon Verne Dove in a press statement.

The organisation said it was investigating how environmental contaminants got into the Mekong, which flows through Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan.

The WWF said it suspected that high levels of mercury found in some dead dolphins came from gold mining activities.

It added that Irrawaddy dolphins in Cambodia and Laos urgently needed a health programme to counter the effects of pollution on their immune systems.

Inbreeding among the small population could have also contributed to weakened immune systems of the young dead dolphins, all of whom were under two weeks old.

"The Mekong River dolphins are isolated from other members of their species and they need our help," said WWF Cambodia country director Seng Teak, adding that the mammals "can show remarkable resilience" if their habitat is protected.

The Mekong River Irrawaddy dolphin, which inhabits a 190 kilometre (118 mile) stretch in Cambodia and Laos, has been listed as critically endangered since 2004, the WWF said.

Thousands of Irrawaddy dolphins once swam in the Mekong. Although regarded as sacred in Cambodia and Laos, their numbers were cut by illegal fishing nets and Cambodia's drawn-out civil conflict, in which dolphin blubber was used to lubricate machine parts and fuel lamps.

The Cambodian government, however, has been promoting dolphin-watching to attract eco-tourism and cracked down on the use of illegal nets which entangled them.

It was hoped that banning fishing nets in dolphins' protected areas would raise their number to 170 within the next few years.

The Mekong is one of only five freshwater habitats in the world for the Irrawaddy dolphin, and Cambodia was thought to support its largest remaining population.

With their pale grey skin and blunt beaks, Irrawaddy dolphins resemble porpoises more than their sea-going cousins, and congregate in a handful of the Mekong's natural deep-water pools.

The river is the world's largest inland fishery, producing some 2.5 million tonnes of fish per year valued at more than 2 billion dollars.

The Mekong also provides 80 percent of the animal protein for 60 million people who live along its lower basin.


Pregnant Dolphin's Death Upsets PETA

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A pregnant dolphin died at SeaWorld's Discovery Cove Sunday, causing an animal rights group to call for an investigation.

PETA wants the Department of Agriculture to determine whether the dolphin's prenatal care was adequate and if enough pain relief was given to the animal during the week-long period after labor started.

Scarlet, a 29-year-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, had pregnancy complications, but the necropsy report could take several weeks. Her calf died in utero, so she never gave birth.

Scarlet was born at SeaWorld San Diego in 1979 and moved to Discovery Cove in Orlando in 2000.

A spokesman for the theme park said the safety and well-being of animals is the park's top priority. While the park mourns the loss of any animal, birth and death are a natural part of the life cycle. Since 2000, Discovery Cove has had 18 successful dolphin births including four in the past three weeks.

PETA sent an urgent letter to the United States Department of Agriculture Tuesday regarding Scarlet and her care after the organization was alerted by a whistle blower, according to a news release.

"Scarlet lived a miserable life of deprivation in a tiny tank that's a fraction of the size of a dolphin's normal habitat, and she may have suffered immeasurable pain in the days leading up to her premature death," PETA Director Debbie Leahy said in a news release. "SeaWorld should get out of the marine-mammal business and spare dolphins the stress of gimmicky swim-with interactions and risky captive-breeding programs."

In its letter to the USDA, PETA asks for a "thorough investigation" and raises concerns of whether the dead fetus was removed from Scarlet. The letter says that Scarlet expelled blood and the veterinarian could not get his arm inside her womb to pull the baby out.

The USDA said it will examine the complaint for validity and applicability under the law, and, if appropriate, assign a inspector to the case who would investigate the incident at SeaWorld by interviewing people and reviewing Scarlet's necropsy report.

PETA said it relies on zoo employees to report animal abuse.

SOURCE: http://www.wesh.com/news/19844431/detail.html

Friday, 19 June 2009

Dolphin Starved to Death in Moscow Dolphinarium

On Friday a performing dolphin died by hunger in Moscow dolphinarium. This happening took air by the head veterinary of Pervomaysky region. She stated that the animal died because of the nonprofessional work of the new owner of the dolphinarium. After the animals had changed their owner, all the trainers refused to work with the new head and left the dolphinarium. The head of the company took new nonprofessional stuff, but they could not continue the performances – the dolphins did not obey them.

Then the stuff used cruel measures to make animals obey – they did not feed dolphins. The dolphins did not get veterinary help. Thus the dolphins became emaciated and one of them died by hunger two days ago.

The police is investigation the details of the accident.

SOURCE: http://www.russia-ic.com/news/show/8452/

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Dolphin Encounters Calf Named "Clifton"

BLUE LAGOON ISLAND, The Bahamas – Fourth grade Xavier’s Lower School student, Eden Cox, met Clifton, the baby dolphin she named, for the first time recently at Dolphin Encounters on Blue Lagoon Island. Meeting face-to-face, Eden enjoyed petting, feeding, dancing and learning about Clifton and his marine mammal family at Dolphin Encounters.

“It was really exciting meeting Clifton, he is so cute,” said Eden. “He is very smart and I think that his name suits him. I am happy that I chose it.”

Before her entire school last month, the nine year-old learned that she was the winner of the Dolphin Encounters Baby Naming Contest. Selected from more than 1,000 entries by students throughout the Bahamas, Eden’s winning submission ‘Clifton,’ in honour of the Clifton heritage, was chosen as the name of the youngest member of the Dolphin Encounters dolphin family.

As part of her prize, Eden and her fourth grade class also received a visit to Dolphin Encounters where they participated in an educational Dolphin Adventure Program and enjoyed learning about marine mammals and the environment in which they live. Eden and her class met and interacted with a few of Clifton’s older relatives in a Dolphin Close Encounter program. The students also visited the sea lion family, participated in educational activities and later enjoyed the lagoon beach. The highlight, however, was meeting the dolphins.

SOURCE: http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/new-providence-bahamas/Fourth_Grade_Student_Meets_the_Baby_Dolphin_She_Named6636.shtml

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Beluga Whale Born Last Night (SWT)

Crissy, a 25-year-old, 1,400-pound beluga whale, gave birth to a female calf at 5:45 p.m. last night in the main pool of SeaWorld San Antonio’s Beluga Stadium. The calf arrived at 5:45 p.m., after a short period of labor. She weighs approximately 90 pounds and is 4 feet, 7 inches long.

This is an exciting event for our team members and our guests, but the first days and weeks for a young beluga whale are critical. SeaWorld’s Zoological Operations team monitors the mother and calf 24/7, watching for nursing behavior, regular respirations and other positive vital signs.

While mother and calf are bonding, “Viva!” Shows at the park’s Beluga Stadium will be cancelled temporarily.

We hope to hear from Chuck Cureau and his team as this story progresses.


Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Activists Try to Halt Import of Dolphins to Mirage

By Amanda Finnegan (contact)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 | 1:50 p.m.

In the days before a dolphin named Sgt. Pepper died last week at The Mirage Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, two animal rights organizations had filed a complaint against the Mirage’s request to import two more dolphins for its habitat.

Part of the complaint, ironically, said more dolphins shouldn't be brought in because other dolphins had died in the past at the habitat, which the two groups claim is being used as a money-making entertainment enterprise, rather than for educational or conservation purposes.

On April 15, the Mirage placed an application with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service to import two captive Atlantic bottlenose dolphins — one female and one male — from Bermuda for breeding purposes. (See the Mirage application)

Animal rights organizations Born Free USA and The World Society for the Protection of Animals filed a complaint against the Mirage’s petition to import during the NMFS month-long public comment period, citing the lack of educational and conservation value and the compromising of animal welfare. (Letter sent by Born Free and The World Society for the Protection of Animals)
MGM Mirage spokesperson Gordon Absher said the purpose of the breeding would be to increase the habitat’s number of dolphins “to continue our study and research” at the dolphin habitat.

“As with every endangered or protected animal, the more we can observe and the better we can understand their situation in the wild,” Absher said.

But animal rights activists see a different motive for the Mirage's request — it wants more dolphins solely to produce a profit, says Born Free senior program associate Monica Engebretson.

“They want additional performers and they want to try to breed new performers. Of course baby dolphins are especially attractive to people so they like to have that constant,” Engebretson said.

The Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden Web site cites the dolphin habitat’s purpose “is to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for dolphins, as well as to educate the public about marine mammals and their environment” where guests can “see the dolphins in a naturalistic environment, exhibiting natural behaviors.”

The Born Free and WSPA letter disputes those statements. Their complaint says “The educational information provided by The Mirage … Web site is little more than thinly veiled public relations propaganda disguised as education, consisting of superficial taxonomic information and vague references to conservation.”

The Web site for the Mirage’s dolphin habitat says it hosts educational programs for K-12 students, guided tours throughout the day and a “trainer for a day” program where visitors are given an opportunity to play, train and feed the dolphins.

According to the Importation for Display or Research criteria (Sec. 104) under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, a facility requesting importation of marine animals for display must “offer a program for education or conservation purposes that is based on professionally recognized standards of the public display community.”

Engbretson says that's not the case at the Mirage.

“More of their research has to do with how to keep dolphins in captivity, which has nothing to do with conservation, it has to do with entertainment. They’ve already demonstrated that they can’t keep dolphins in alive in their tank,” Engebretson said.

Two-year-old Sgt. Pepper died Thursday of complications of a lung infection. MGM Mirage spokesperson Monet said the Mirage’s animal care staff and veterinarians had been actively treating Sgt. Pepper for the lung infection for months after being diagnosed in December 2008. A necropsy will be performed on Sgt. Pepper to determine further information on his death.

Sgt. Pepper was the 14th to die at the Mirage dolphin habitat since the attraction opened in 1990. Five of the 14 dolphins were stillborns or died shortly after birth.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has initiated an investigation into the latest dolphin death at the Mirage, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

The department completed an investigation into the death of Sage last year and the results of lab tests were "inconclusive," the USDA report said. There is no enforcement action planned from the 2008 death investigation, the spokeswoman said.

Though the date of import stated in the Mirage’s petition was June 1, the NMFS has not yet approved the request.

The animal care team at the Mirage said the death of Sgt. Pepper should not slow the application process unless NMFS find issues at the facility that need to be investigated.

The Mirage imported Lighting, Sgt. Pepper’s father, from a captivity facility in Florida more than three years ago.

SOURCE: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jun/10/animal-rights-groups-try-halt-mirage-importing-mor/


NOTE - the two animals most likely to be imported are Somers and Nimbus.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Mirage Dolphin Dies from Lung Infection

By Amanda Finnegan (contact)

MGM Mirage today reported the second death of a dolphin this year at The Mirage's dolphin habitat.

Two-year-old Sgt. Pepper died Wednesday of complications from a lung infection, MGM Mirage spokeswoman Yvette Monet said.

Monet said The Mirage’s animal care staff and veterinarians had been treating Sgt. Pepper for the lung infection for months after he was diagnosed in December 2008. A necropsy will be performed to determine further information on his death.

The Mirage’s dolphin habitat now has five dolphins: Dutchess, Lighting, Huf n Puf, Maverick and 9-month-old Bella.

Lisa Wathne, captive exotic animal specialist with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said the animal protection organization will file a formal request to investigate the latest dolphin death.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issues permits to such facilities allowing them to operate.

"We will ask the USDA to investigate, absolutely," Wathne said.

Sgt. Pepper is the 14th dolphin to die at the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat since the attraction opened in 1990. Five of the 14 dolphins were stillborns or died shortly after birth.

The last dolphin death at the habitat was in July 2008. The death of 11-year-old Sage was undetermined after an investigation by the Department of Agriculture's animal care division.

Sun reporter Mary Manning contributed to this report.

SOURCE: http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2009/jun/04/mirage-dolphin-dies-lung-infection-complications/