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View Diary: Blackfish: Putting the 'Killer' Back in 'Killer Whale' (14 comments)

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  •  It's educational! (3+ / 0-)
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    elmo, skohayes, chimene

    My in-laws are teachers. When their daughter was young, they took her to Sea World. I guess I opined that it's a shame the orcas are kept in such an unnatural environment. They said, no, it's important for children to see these animals in order to save the animals, or something.

    I hope we're done with the idea that taking large sea animals from the ocean is good for them, especially for the very intelligent mammals.

    The whole story of Tilikum is so sad and infuriating at the same time.

    •  See them in the wild! (5+ / 0-)

      You can go to the San Juan Islands of Washington State. You can see the resident orcas in season right from the shore on the west side of San Juan island.

      We did this last May, and it was absolutely the most thrilling wildlife watching experience of my life. And our tourist dollars went into supporting small businesses in a blue state, rather than to a multinational conglomerate owned by Blackstone Group.

      •  Did you notice if their dorsal fins drooped? (1+ / 0-)
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        I would appreciate confirmation that they do not in the wild.

        The trouble ain't that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain't distributed right. Mark Twain

        by BlueMississippi on Fri Aug 23, 2013 at 05:36:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, none of them we saw (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wenchacha, BlueMississippi, 417els

          And we saw, altogether in our week, perhaps thirty total, both in the superpod of transients and the residents we sighted on another day (the residents and the transients don't mix).

          It's extremely rare to see that in a wild orca.

          We went out on a wildlife watching boat and the naturalist on board was fantastic! You can tell the gender of adult orcas by the shape of that dorsal fin: females will have a curved one, while the males find will be straighter. Young uns have the curved fin until around puberty, when the young males will get a growth spurt and the dorsal fin will begin to shoot straight up (heh).

          The naturalists can identify individual orcas by their saddle patch markings and other identifying characteristcs (like scrapes or notches).  The pod of resident orcas we saw was J pod, also known as Granny's pod (orcas are matrilineal societies).

          If you ever have a way to go and see them, do! I waited about 15 years before it was possible for us, and the trip was everything I imagined and more.

          The San Juan islands do get crowded (and more expensive) in the peak months of June, July and August, but May and September as the shoulder months are good for wildlife watching and free of crowds. We went last May.

          There's a state park on the west side of San Juan island where you can watch orcas from the shore. When we were there, they passed by only about 30 feet from shore. You could hear them exhale. Incredible.

          We had multiple bald eagle sightings, saw river otters, deer, fox (and fox kits), California quail in our yard....oh, it was wonderful. We're dreaming about going back again next spring.

          •  Thank you so much! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elmo, BlueMississippi

            I am on my way to Seattle this week with my husband. Our daughter has been working with the Washington Conservation Corps in the Olympic National Park. I'm feeling the squeeze of the trip, but I would love to go on a whale watch for orcas and the like.

            My daughter told us that one day she flew back to Port Townsend with a group in a small plane. Looking down, she saw a large pod of orcas in the Puget Sound. It sounded thrilling.

            I hadn't realized that orcas were snatched away fro Puget Sound to become part of the Sea World circus, but I'm sure it was easy to do so in that area. The film shows a diagram of how the whales with no young split off, to divert the boats following the pod. Mothers and young took off another direction, but were eventually foiled by the planes that gave their location to the men in boats.

            Reading about San Juan Island, I learned about the place on the island where you can see them from shore. I may yet see if we can do this.

            The priority is to see our girl after a year-and-a-half separation. Orcas are a close second.

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