Southern resident killer whales are a distinct population from other killer whale groups in the Pacific Ocean. Southern residents eat salmon and spend time in Puget Sound. There population has always been small (currently there are 82 individuals) and they were placed on the Endangered Species List in 2005. In 2011 NOAA put new regulations in place that required boaters to remain at least 200 yards away from the whales. Now, NOAA has provided $925,000 to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to hire an enforcement officer to ensure that the whales are not in danger from boats.
Singing bowhead whales baffle scientists
Researchers have been studying whale communication for years but we still know surprisingly little about it. Now, a research team is hoping to solve the mystery by studying bowhead whales. Researchers have recorded 66 different songs from a population of bowhead whales estimated to be only in the tens. Using two underwater microphones, the team recorded whale songs for an entire year and found that the songs changed with the seasons, although they don’t yet know why.
Worried You Might be Eating Dolphin? There’s a Test For That
In an effort to end whale and dolphin poaching, police and other officials in Taiwan are being trained to use a litmus-paper test that can identify whale and dolphin meat within ten minutes. This process is much faster than using DNA to test meat samples, which typically takes five days. The litmus test will be used at restaurants and markets if there is suspicion of poached dolphin or whale meat.
Copyright © 2013 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.