Mankind Should Consider The Necessity Of Whales.

 

Giant Humpback WhalesThe number one reason is how many scientists have learned so much from research and biological studies. There are many reasons for the scientist to study and research whales. Many of the topics are whale behavior such as echolocation, language, intelligence, and environmental impact. Some of the information we have learned has been by watching them thrive and survive. 

Part of a healthy society for whale species and marine mammals is hunting and protecting one another. This is similar to the way humans, elephants, and primates live.  Two characteristics that are found in few other species is a high degree of intelligence and self-recognition. Because whales possess very complicated and sophisticated language, many researchers believe that humans will need to develop new technologies so we can communicate with them. The cetaceans species include whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Because of the cetaceans, which include whale, dolphins and porpoises, level of intelligence many researchers and environmentalists wish to give them specific protective rights; the same rights as humans.

Our growing understanding of whales is vital for improving safety measures which will lead to improvements in the ocean ecosystem. Echolocation is the sonar-like system in which visible and invisible objects found by sound waves reflected back to the emitter.  The research of this sonar-like systems has led to improvement and implementation new technologies for human sonar systems. This study has taught us that man-made sounds have an effect on echolocation of marine life. So we should attempt to make ways to better protect the cetaceans from the noise we make. We can start by creating new technologies that don’t interfere with echolocation and ban air gun blasting. Echolocation is one reason is that whales help military personnel locate underwater mines and people lost at sea. The human race needs to approach these studies hardheartedly because of the cetaceans intelligence and their ability to learn and their ability to work as a team.

How do whales affect the environment?

To begin with, whales regulate the food system through stabilization and ensuring that individual species do not overpopulate the ocean. As an example, the blue whale consumes 40 million krill a day. Now imagine the impact if the blue whale became extinct. The krill would thrive and survive, thereby overpopulating and destroying the species that they feed on. Poof their goes the stabilization of the food chain.

A by-product of the whale’s food consumption is whale poop which offsets carbon in the atmosphere. Studies show that nutrients found in sperm whale poop aids in the growth of phytoplankton. It is estimated that whale poop is responsible for the extraction of 400,000 metric tons carbon from the air every year. Whale poop also helps stabilizes the food chain by stimulating the growth of phytoplankton by helping to feed fish. This allows the fish to reproduce and survive, which feed other species.

How do whales help growing economies?

Movies such as Free Willie, Orca,  have aided in the growth of whale watching. People spend billions in the hope to get a glance of whales in their habitat. This spending has become a significant source of income leading to economic growth in wealthy and developing countries. Global whale watching has increased the global presence for these countries and helps attract additional investments from other countries. However, along time ago whales weren’t were so loved the outcome was sad and unfortunate.

In the old days of the whaling era, many species were slaughtered to the point that some species almost extinct and endangered. This killing of whales eventually caused all sorts of environmental changes. Those changes over time led to increased levels of carbon dioxide and global warming.

Blue Whales: One species that is at Risk

Blue Whale Size Chart

The blue whale is considered the biggest and loudest animal in the world. Blue whales can be heard several miles away. As a child, I remember seeing photographs of these creatures and was overwhelmed at their size. Because of their size, a blue whale is rarely attacked. The blue whale’s only known predator is killer whales and when killer whales usually attack they only attack young and defenseless calves.

Although the blue whale’s main diet is krill, it will consume creatures called copepods. Krill are found in Arctic waters. The blue whale is classified as a baleen whale because blue whales don’t have teeth so they can’t chew or grab onto their food.  The whale consumes food through a process called filter feeding.

This method implies filtering groups of krill from the water by the use of baleen plates. The plates have bristles which act like a net or a fence. As the blue whale swims at its prey, it opens its mouth to capture the food. Then the whale pushes the excess water out by using its tongue, the krill are trapped on the bristles. Once all the water is gone the whale eats the krill, whole. Because of the size of its esophagus, a blue or baleen whale couldn’t swallow an adult human.

What is the habitat of a blue whale?

One of the great tragedies of human history is the whaling era. Whaling, in its time, was a popular and lucrative business, causing death among all whale species. The extent of whaling among the blue whale almost brought the species to extinction. Estimates of the blue whale population before the whaling era were 200,000 – 300,000. After the whaling era, the species numbered between 5,000-12,000. 

Since the whaling era, blue whales still can be seen in the Antartic, Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. However, they are more readily found in colder waters where they store food and prepare for the mating season. During the mating season, blue whales are seen in warmer waters such as the Gulf of Mexico, Costa Rica, the Fallon, Channel Islands, and Monterey Bay. During their migration trips, blue whales survive off their blubber. These trips can take up to four months traveling at 3 -6 miles per hour. However, if a whale becomes agitated, it can reach speeds of 30 miles per hour. The gestation period of a whale is 10- 12 months during which they produce one calf. A baby blue whale gains 200 pounds a day.

The Reproduction and Lifespan of Whales

Once a blue whale is impregnated the gestation period is usually ten to twelve months.  At the end of which the female whale, called a cow, produces a single offspring.  The calf or baby whale is nursed for six to nine months. The milk of the cow is full of fat and nutrients. Once the calf has been weaned, it starts consuming solid foods and hunting. After five to ten years the adult whale is able to mate. A cow produces every two to three years.

Threats

I have already mentioned the whaling era. In a previous post, I wrote about the potential dangers to the food cycle of offshore drilling specifically air-gun blasts. But blue whale also faces threats from pollution, the plastic bottles and wrapping tossed in the ocean during boating, collisions with boats and ships, global warming, fishing gear and marine equipment.

 

 

 

 

 

The Year of Lessons Learned

I started the year full of high hopes. I was finally retired and going to enjoy myself and do the things I wanted to do. The year started fine with me returning to faithful church attendance. I had mentioned before that I spent forty-two years in the world of IT.  Actually when I first started the official name was Data Processing. As a long time member of that professional community, I can say a person does not have anything like a healthy life. For twenty years I worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and then had a week off. So, in reality, I worked 26 weeks a year, with holidays and vacation. A young man’s game for a while. However, the opportunities to attend church often aren’t great. Then I worked 18 years in which I worked 3 and 1/2 days, twelve hours a day. Because a more significant part of that was spent work Wednesday – Saturday. So on my second weekend of retirement, I returned to church service and felt everything was going to be alright. I was back at my spiritual home.

I started this blog to pursue my writing interests.  I am a graduate of Long  Ridge Writers Group, where I learned to write non-fiction and fiction. I intended to write short stories and develop characters for other short stories. However, Donald Trump became President of our country and has torn asunder everything I believe in. I have lived in one of the most racist cities in the nations for sixty-six years. I held on to the belief that all people are created equal, not so much as because our founding document says so, but the Bible states that God created man in his image.

When I was a boy, my father instilled a love of nature. We watched the Wonderful World of Disney religiously. I loved the exceptional time-lapsed photography of fauna. And the individual heartwarming stories. That is why I have such a love of nature and environment.  I do not have any degrees in conservation or environmental studies, but I do believe we are undergoing a climate change. After all hasn’t the world gone through these changes over many millions of years. For earthlings, this climate change is man-made. A reasonable person should understand that after nearly fifty decades of belching carbon dioxide into the atmosphere some damage had to be sustained. Mainly we have done everything we could to eradicate trees from our environment. This is natures air cleaner. We owe the future generations an effort to turn this around.

I am committing myself to making an effort by posting whatever I learn about God’s gift to us; this planet,  why it is important we make an effort to save parts of it from our own undoing. Of course, there are two purposes for this to improve my writing and to inform you the reader. I will also be writing some general fiction too. Of course, to do all this, I am going to have to stay healthy by not breaking fingers and coming down with pneumonia.

 

The Impact of Off-Shore Drilling

When I do research for a writing project such as this, I imagine myself as a wide-eyed child learning about his world. This project originated as I was remembering such television shows such as Flipper, the Free Willie movies, and videos of whales crashing through ocean waves. The question came to me what would happen to these creatures.

The Learning Started

zooplankton
Tiny zooplankton, like these crustaceans, is an important food source for larger ocean animals.
Photo Credit: Credit: NOAA Photo Library

The term zooplankton describes any animal that can’t swim against current and drifts on the sea. There are 7000 species. The most well known is Krill. These shrimp-like creatures feed baleen whales, fish, and seabirds.

There are species of plankton that begin life floating as something but later evolved into something entirely different. Baby fish, shellfish, and Black Marlin. The Black Marlin can weigh as much as a thousand pounds and accelerate to 80 miles per hour. There are siphonophores which are drifting invertebrates that can grow a hundred feet long. Whales, dolphins, turtles, fish, and snorkelers are called nekton. These animals can float against the current.

Most humans do not think of plankton let alone their importance zooplankton are hard to relate too. None of the 7000 species are cuddly like dogs, cats, or long-eared bunny rabbits. Some don’t even have a face, but they have worth.  These little are lunch for anchovies, herring, and sardines which feed bigger fish, marine mammals, and sharks. Without the foundation of the food chain, the more massive sea creatures would not live either.

For oil and gas to be found the searchers plan to use seismic air guns would blast compressed air into the seabed which would kill significant amounts of zooplankton. The scientist has evidence that airgun blasts affect other animals even when what the blasts are set at a lower level frequency.  The evidence shows that blasting affects communication, feeding, and breeding of whales.  One question remains to be answered: What about the displacement and reduction of the catch rates of popular and commercially important species.

Because the evidence remains unclear what the far-reaching effects of airgun blasting on zooplankton. So in March 2015, the much-needed tests were performed off the southern coast of Tasmania. Before, during and after the tests nets full of zooplankton were collected. Before the trial, 19% of the zooplankton were found dead of natural causes. After the tests, the death toll was at 32%, and this included baby krill and Ceopods which are crustaceans. The death toll stayed high at least a kilometer away from the boat. It turns out the test although noteworthy did not prove impact.

Looking Into the Future

If we assume that seismic testing does kill plankton, then environmentalist must hope high-level predators would be drawn in first. If the zooplankton doesn’t bounce back quickly, then the result would be starvation for the countries that rely on the ocean for food. Further testing on computers have predicted that zooplankton will bounce back quickly in the tropic, but their rate of recovery north of the equator is unknown.

The concerns over the testing off the Tasmanian coast can be found elsewhere. While there are different species of plankton, they share physical similarities and are all affected by seismic airgun blasts.

Zooplankton being at the bottom of the food chain feed whales and fish. Of the commercial species, lobsters and oysters start as larvae drifting in the currents. Commercial fishermen will suffer if the proposed air gun blasting does decrease these favorite foods.

Finally, we should consider this “oil and gas were once considered zooplankton adrift at sea and as the new study shows air gun blasting to find these fuels may threaten the very creatures that made them.

 

My Stand

Like a lot of other Americans, I believe the GOP tax cut is heinous, and I do think taxes should be cut. In my particular case, I worked 42 years and most of that time was paycheck to paycheck. I have seen trickle down economics instituted twice, and it didn’t work either time. This package, what can you expect from stone cold people, whose primary goal is to deprive the less fortunate of life. I would like to remind the morality party even Jesus Christ ministered to the poor and sick.

I would rather see the government require two steps that they would have to meet. First, require that the corporations bring the outsourced jobs back to the United States. Secondly, bring back their profits that they have hidden so they can be taxed and fine.  I would prefer that they would have cut the taxes of the 1% and kept the estate tax, What happens to Trump’s promise of taxing corporations for moving jobs outside the country. At least with this tax package, we won’t have to build a wall, the immigrants will flock back to Mexico for work. Then maybe they’ll construct a fence to keep Americans out.

The headline has been rampant with news stories about the GOP being upset with Robert Mueller’s investigation. One story I read was that the GOP accused investigators of not liking Trump. Imagine the criminal castigating the police officer for shooting at him. “You’re supposed to love me.”

Finally, the depletion of our resources concerns me. Who is Trump selling the oil and coal too when the rest of the world is trending toward renewable energy. These natural resources that he and his comrades are so eagerly depleting were the same resource need for the allied effort against the Axis powers in the 1940s. We may need these resources to stop Putin.

The Case for the American Grey Wolves

The Case for the American Grey Wolves

As a young man, my father would regale me with stories of his hunting prowess. He was quite honest about it he preferred to small game. However, he also helped me develop respect for the ecosystem of our country. In mid-teens I was taken into the Boundary Waters of Minnesota where I had a brief encounter with a wolf.

At the time, I was enthralled by the scenery I was studying when I had a feeling I was not alone. It is an attitude I have developed throughout my years of camping and hiking. When I looked around, I saw the wolf trotting deeper into the woods. Since then I have made contributions to saving the wolf.

So I became alarmed when I learned that Congress had declared war on the American Wolves. The Senate introduced a bill that would release hunting restrictions on the wolves in four states Minnesota, Michigan, Wyoming, and Wisconsin. A week a similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives. So to better understand I did some research.

From a person that has a background as a scientist and conservationist, I learned about three possible explanations. According to the author Leda Huta, the first reason is money. State revenues are increased by state fish and wildlife agencies, by the sale of fishing and hunting licenses, and the sale of ammunition. Because these organizations depend on revenue from hunters. It is likely that they are going to cater to hunters who want only humans killing deer and elk. The trophy hunters want to kill wolves.

Secondly, ever since the wolves were reintroduced to the wolves by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Services, the wolf is not considered an essential cog in the ecosystem, but a representative of everything federal.

Lastly, is the mythology, that we have created about wolves. That they are supernatural beasts that threaten our existence, as in Red Riding Hood or stories about Werewolves.

In 2011, Bob Robb wrote in “Six Reasons to Kill Wolves,” is first there are too many wolves. Especially in areas where there is a lot of food, such as Yellowstone National Park. So much so that the wolf was removed from the Endangered Species Act in 2009. He states that in the sports hunting season of 2009 that 72 of 75 targeted wolves were killed in Montana, and 188 of 220 in Idaho.

Secondly, Robb states that wolves decimated the ungulate population. From the hunters, point of view the elk, deer, and moose populations have plummeted. Lower ungulate numbers mean state game managers are forced to offer fewer hunting licenses.  This means less revenue for that prospective state.

Then there is the third reason which is the elk and deer are not stupid. They are heading to higher ground to avoid being dinner for wolves. This put a hardship on the hunter because they have to engage the rougher terrain which has caused some hunters to quit hunting.

The fourth reason involves the belief that wolves don’t care what is on the menu. When wolves have less game to hunt, they have wandered into human habitation. When that happens pets and cattle become lunch. However, when ranchers complain about lost livestock and animal rights groups offer to mitigate the cost.

The fifth reason is wolves are the poster boy animals. Wolves are beautiful animals thus making them poster child from animal rights groups. “I’ve actually had officers from some prominent animal rights’ groups tell me that when they need to raise some quick cash, all they have to do is send out a mailer with the picture of a wolf on it that begs their donors for a few bucks to keep the evil hunters from killing these poor, innocent creatures.”1

In the sixth reason, Robb argues that endless litigation holds the wolves protected. Animal run wild are his primary targets.  Robb states that these groups advocate letting animals run wild and to stop hunting.

The Other Side

The general consensus before 1995 regarding recovering a damaged area biologists believed that the only way to rebuild plant life before anything else. This meant that healthy plants had to be established first, then insects, small rodents, birds, larger herbivores, and then, at last, the top predators fell into place. However, the Endangered Species Act required the reintroduction of top predators before plant life. So, in 1995, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service reintroduced wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Since then the ecological effect named the trophic cascade has taken place. What has happened is that the grey wolves began something more natural than had been seen in sixty-five years: an ecosystem balance.

The Trophic Cascade

The term trophic refers to different levels of the food chain, with plant life at the bottom and the top level predators at the top. An example of a cascade is that of a stream coming to a waterfall. Once the water of the creek flows down the waterfall until it hits a rock and splits forming two waterfalls which hit rocks and creates other waterfalls. Now we can insert the wolf into the scenario.

The method of using the trophic cascade proved to be more of a success than anyone expected. Because the grey wolf preys on the most vulnerable, the diseased, the young, old, weak, and injured, individuals, of the ungulate population, herds of elk, moose, and deer. Because of the wolves method of hunting, it aids in the regulation herd size distribution which impacts biodiversity. Otherwise, elk, deer, moose overgraze the vegetation, which leads to the degradation of their habitat. Which in turn, leads to damaging effects on other native wildlife.

When the wolves were removed, smaller predator grew and with growth increase their range. This led to exploitation of their prey. An example of this occurred in the southeastern United States when red wolves were eliminated. After the red wolves elimination, the raccoon and coyote numbers rose sharply. This caused the reduction of wild turkeys and small predators such as foxes which preyed on smaller mammals. The smaller mammals were found to be responsible for infesting ticks with Lyme disease and with the more significant populations of smaller mammals Lyme disease has spread.

Because of the deer, elk and moose willow and aspen stands have regenerated. Along with the restoration of streambed vegetation native habitats for native birds, fish, and beaver. Aquatic habitats were improved by stabilizing channels and controlling erosion.

The impact on the survival of pronghorn, for the better because of the competition between coyote and wolves. Yellowstone National Park reported in 2007 that in some areas of the park the coyote population had been reduced by 50 percent. As a result, the increase in the pronghorn population was seen to rise from 20 percent to 70 percent. The populations of the red fox also saw an increase.

Eagles, bears, and magpies have benefited from the presence of the wolf because these carrion-feeders live on the remains left by wolves. The remains of the kills by wolves help other species survive stress filled winters.

The return of the grey wolves has also has helped aquatic, riparian vegetation. Sin the ungulates are no longer overgrazing the plant life along stream beds has grown stronger. Beaver had also returned to Yellowstone.

Conclusion

Many a time, sitting around campfires and I have stared at the starry canopy above wondered at the mind that put together this amazing world. After the research I’ve done, I am convinced that our wolves are an intricate part of our ecology. I do believe that animals should be able to run and free. That is when they are the most beautiful. I do not condone disbanding hunting, but I do not like methods being used.,  such as hunting from airplanes or using automatic weapons. Iconic predators such as the grizzly bear and the grey wolf are not food. However when money is involved the environment and ecology lose.

  1. http://www.y petersenshunting.cdrom/uncategonalirized/6-reasons-to-hunt-wolves/#ixzz4tLiyapVI

2nd Amendment Freedoms Vs. Life, Liberty, Pursuit of Happiness

No flag waving. Just short and personal. Too many lives have been lost because of this nation’s bloodlust. I would like you to consider this scenario. Consider the death toll, if the Las Vegas shooter had access to silencers. The same proposition that the House of Representatives will be considering. If you still support second amendment freedoms, then I challenge you to seek out the family members of the latest casualties and explain to them your gun ownership rights are more important than their loved one’s life.

Wolf Blood

Wolf Blood

Three wolves are loping through woods. The three the wolves were on the urgent matter of hunting for food. The group of wolves was made up of two males and a female. Greta’s primary concern is getting enough food for her three pups back at the den. One of the males was Lucifer, Greta’s mate. Lucifer’s muzzle and face were white. The rest of him was black ears, forehead, and body.  Greta’s fur was gray except for brown on the edge of her ears and the top of her muzzle. The other wolf was known as Gus had found some rabbit burrows in a small meadow about ten miles from their den. That is where the threesome was heading. Near the knoll, they stop.

Greta and Lucifer circle around the meadow to find a spot where they can spring their trap. Gus with nose to the ground searches for a promising burrow. Gus stops for the third time and frantically starts digging. Seconds later a large rabbit pops out the ground and starts to run. Gus tries to herd the rabbit in the direction of Greta and Lucifer, but then it happens.

The three wolves were so intent on their kill that they did hear the thump, thump approach of helicopter rotor blades. Greta and Lucifer watch as Gus crashes into the turf. His nose hits the ground at the same time the ground was being chewed up chasing the rabbit until it too stops running. The Alpha couple doesn’t understand what is happening, but they know they are in danger. They turn and run toward the woods, running side by side searching for safety. Greta running for her life driven by a combination of rat-tat-tat and the thumping of chopper blades then red liquid spurts out of Lucifer and he goes down.

Greta plunges into the woods, but her fear keeps driving. She runs for another mile crashing through the forest, her heart beating faster and faster, until she trips.  After Greta rested awhile, she returned to the meadow where she last saw Lucifer. However, the only thing that is left of Lucifer and Gus is the scent of their life blood. She sets off on the trot back to the den and her three pups.

An hour later Greta is getting close to her lair when she picks up the scent of death again. There were areas where the smell was strong and getting stronger.  As she approached the entrance to her den, she spots the lifeless body of one of her seven pups, just outside the entrance. She enters the hole only to find the remains of her other two pups. A female member of her litter no longer has a face. Greta returns to the forest which has always been a safe haven for her. That night Greta casts her voice on the wind mourning Lucifer, her pups, and the rest of the pack.

 For the next week, Greta survives on carrion and berries, staying deep in the forest. Then the wolf spots a rabbit. Greta gives chase until she feels an explosive burning pain. It is harder for her to breathe or run and then she falls to the ground. Her life blood flows out her.

Jack a veteran park ranger had been listening to wolve howls for decades. He bragged that he could distinguish the difference between wolf howls. A man in his forties, broad shouldered, red flyaway hair, jade eyes, sat on his back deck listening intently for his beloved wolves for the second night.  For three nights he had only heard a single wolf howl, and that was Greta’s. Tonight she was silent.

The next morning as soon as he pulls up to the main office he knocks on his boss’s door.

“Doug, I think the Tioga Pass Scoundrels have been wiped out,” Jack said.

“That will make the cattlemen outside of the park, happy,” Doug said. After taking a deep cleansing breath, he continued, “I’ll have dispatch put out a cautionary call for all Rangers to keep a watch out for them.” Doug’s physique had suffered from sitting behind a desk for a few years. His brown, thin, hair was graying at the temples.

“Thank you,” Jack gave his boss a gracious smile.

For the next few days, Jack jumps as he receives each radio notice.  Then on the fourth day, he finally receives a call to him from the dispatcher. He races to the site the dispatcher told him about.

“What did they find,” Jack asked Doug as he got out of his jeep?

“Jack, some young kids found a body and told the local sheriff,” Doug said. “They thought it was a big dog.”

“She’s over there,” Jacks boss to a group of uniformed men. “She’s a female wolf. Unless you’ve seen her up close, I doubt you’re going to be able to identify her.”

“I saw her through my field glasses. I’ll know,” Jack said.

Jack and Doug trooped over to the group of lawmen. As soon as Jack broke through the circle, he saw the ravages of mother nature. He knelt down next to the body. Jack touches the head, “Sorry girl, you deserved better than this.”

“Why are so emotional over a wild animal,” the sheriff asked with a sneer.

“She is one of God’s creatures,” Doug’s voice bellowed.

“Can we take her back and bury her in the park,” Jack asked.

At the park office, they wrapped her remains in old blankets and then put the body in a pine box. Then a group of Rangers carried the box to a whole which had already been dug.

Later that night, Doug pulled up to Jack’s house. Before he got to the front door, Jack stepped out, “What do you want,” Jack asked.

“Well if you have some beer and CD player I have something to play for you,” Doug grinned.

A few minutes later Jack came back out, and each of the men leaned up against a porch post. After a few moments, Jack cleared his throat, “You said you had something to share.”

“I recorded a wolf howling a few days before you came into my office. I copied it to a CD.”

Jack placed the proffered CD into his player. The sound of a lone wolf howling started Jack to tear up. 

“Oh no,” I didn’t want to get you all weep eye,” Doug said.

“That’s Greta howl.”

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