Sea Shepherd ship films rare species of Orcas

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Another press release from Sea Shepherd:

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On December 26th 2014, the Sea Shepherd ship, Bob Barker, encountered a pod of rare, “Ecotype D” Orcas while passing between the Crozet and Kerguelen archipelagos in the South Indian Ocean, in pursuit of the toothfish poaching vessel,Thunder.

The encounter was photographed and filmed, and images of the encounter were forwarded to Marine Ecologist and (Antarctic) Orca expert, Robert L. Pitman, of Southwest Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administra tion in the United States, for review.

Mr. Pitman examined the photographs and confirmed that these were, “definitely a Type D Killer whale,” adding, “I don’t think they have ever been filmed alive.”

First identified in 1955 when a pod stranded on Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand, the Ecotype D Orca is characterised by large bulbous foreheads, similar to those of Pilot whales, and tiny post-ocular eye markings.

Following the 1955 stranding, this type of Orca was not seen again for almost 50 years. It is believed that there have been approximately 13 sightings to date, including the most recent sighting by the Bob Barker crew.

Bob Barker Chief Engineer, Erwin Vermeulen, was one of the crewmembers who photographed the encounter. He recounts, ”The crew watched in awe as the 13 killer whales, including a small juvenile and a large male, used the six-metre swell to surf across the bow. For almost an hour the surf-show continued and was accompanied by bow riding, tail-slaps and breaches.”

DNA retrieved from the 1955 stranding revealed that Ecotype D’s genetic differences point at a divergence from other Orcas about 390,000 years ago. This makes Ecotype D the second oldest Orca type, and second most genetically divergent.

Determining how many species of Orcas there are is critically important to establishing conservation measures and to better understand the ecological role of this apex predator in the world’s oceans.

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PACK MENTALITY BLOG: Compassion - teamed with Science and Logic

Bob Barker teaming with ADI to stop the exploitation of elephants at fairs

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Bob Barker continues his ongoing efforts in helping animals, and this time it’s elephants. The former Price is Right host is teaming with Animal Defenders International (ADI) to bring attention to the suffering of elephants used at fairs.

The Press Release –

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Bob Barker Spearheads New ADI Campaign to End Elephant Suffering at Fairs

February 28, 2013, LOS ANGELES, CA – Animal Defenders International (ADI) has launched the first nationwide initiative in the United States about the use of elephants giving rides or making appearances at public events.  At the heart of the campaign is a new DVD narrated by Emmy award winning TV host Bob Barker entitled ‘No Fun For Elephants,’ featuring harrowing undercover footage from inside elephant training facilities in California, as well as abuse of an elephant on tour by a Texas-owned company.

Bob Barker introduces the video, “To many, it looks like harmless fun, but elephants pay a heavy price for the few minutes of entertainment they provide when performing in circus shows, giving rides, or making appearances at parades, weddings or other events.  Most of us marvel at the majesty of wild animals and I can understand why people want to see animals like elephants up close.  But isn’t it especially tragic when animals are suffering and being abused simply to entertain us?”

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PETA’s petition on White House website calls for mandatory spay-and-neuter law

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The White House has a new “We the People” website, where people or groups can create petitions. PETA has joined forces with renowned animal advocate Bob Barker on the “Stop Animal Homelessness at Its Roots” petition.

It was one of the first to reach the 5,000-signature threshold, meaning it is in line to be reviewed by the Obama Administration. The goal is – “a mandatory spay-and-neuter law for all animals adopted from animal shelters or bought from pet stores, puppy mills, and breeders until all homeless dogs and cats in the U.S. have been placed in loving homes.”

Also from the PETA press release –

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Sea Shepherd vessel renamed Brigitte Bardot

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Earlier this year, the fleet of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, along with its interceptor and scout vessel the Gojira (Godzilla) was able to shut down the Japanese whaling operation in the southern oceans.

The operation was a huge success and saved the lives of many whales that might have otherwise suffered greatly.

The society, according to a press release I received Wednesday, was served with a notice to stop using the name for this vessel. Sea Shepherd suggest the notice came from Godzilla’s lawyers.

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