Orky the Porky Orca (say THAT fast!) is a new full-color web comic written and illustrated by Brett DeWall. The premise is quite simple really: Orky the killer whale is accused of a murder he didn’t commit, and now he is forced to hide out among human kind. To this end he puts on a trench coat and fedora, and no one ever notices he’s an orca. Simple, yes? Oh, and helping him to adjust is a smoking, drinking frog named Pierre, with a French accent and (supposedly) refined tastes. Got all that? Good. Check out Orky at his web site when it updates every Tuesday.
Afterposten, among others, is reporting that Keiko, the killer whale star of the 1993 hit movie Free Willy whose horrid living conditions at a Mexico City amusement park reinvigorated the movement for animal rights in the '90s, has died in a fjord off Norway.
BBC Online reports that the Antarctic blue whale population may be gradually increasing.
Remains of a beached whale found in Japan five months ago have only recently been confirmed as a Longman's Beaked whale, an extremely rare species of which no complete adult specimens have ever previously been recovered. No living Beaked Whales have ever been identified.
BBC Online reports that Australian scientists have developed a method of studying whales without killing them. By analyzing the whale feces they can determine the species, quantity, and origin of krill eaten by the whales, in addition to a large number of other factors about the health of the whales and their ecosystem. Such analysis, which the scientest say is far cheaper than hunting whales, could replace most of the "research" currently used as the justification to kill some whales.
Yahoo News has published an Associated Press report that Bjossa, a 25-year-old female orca, died Monday at San Deigo SeaWorld. Bjossa had formerly lived at the Vancouver Aquarium, and was transported to SeaWorld in April. A spokesman for the aquarium said that Bjossa had suffered from a lung infection for at least a year before she arrived at SeaWorld.
BBC Online has three stories related to endangered species:
A couple of only mildly depressing articles about animals (it seems very difficult to find cheerful ones; I guess those don't make the news unless they're odd, like the falling cow). Climate change threatening the food supply for blue whales is the first. The second involves Canada lifting the moratorium on hunting grizzly bears. I'm trying to figure out why people would want to hunt bears. Kill them if they're a menace, eat them for food... but just spontaneously hunt them? What good is that?
I certainly wasn't expecting to see this after my last post about the injured right whale, one of only 300 right whales remaining... but apparently scientists are going to go after him again, this time with a different sedative to see if they can untangle him. I wish them the best success, and will keep an eye out for more news about their venture. Also on the ocean-front, New Scientist reports that there are fish that try to apologize to other fish by petting them with their fins.
Some of you might remember a post I found off New Scientist a while back about rescuers attempting to free a male right whale, one of the few left in the wild. Unfortunately, their attempts didn't work and now they're hoping the whale will be able to free himself. This has to be one of the more frustrating times to be a scientist... being unable to save a creature so rare there are only 300 left, and giving it up to fate. You can read more about it at Salon. On a more upbeat note, cows also enjoy music, though they prefer ballads to hardcore rock and roll.
Some random animal news now: NOAA embarks on a mission to rescue an injured right whale despite the weather and difficulties involved; and two lynx kittens found in a clear cut forest in Maine. The latter article is especially interesting in its mention of how humans can plan how they're going to use the resources of nature in such a way that it can actually provide more opportunities for wildlife than would have occurred naturally. This is similar to the premise of a book I finished reading by a naturalist, Eco-Geography (link to Amazon). Worth the read for those of you interested in sustainable living in a way that neither insists that all human life is inimical to the pristine and perfect natural world nor assumes that we're hell-bent on destroying everything in our selfish quest for material wealth.