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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Deep Water Whale strands itself in the Shark Kill Zone of Maui


Radiation effect, for sure.

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Necropsy Reveals Dwarf Sperm Whale was Pregnant, Diseased

Photo courtesy: Todd Pusser, NOAA permit #932-1905.
Photo courtesy: Todd Pusser, NOAA permit #932-1905.
By Wendy Osher
A dwarf sperm whale that beached itself along the Kīhei shoreline in South Maui on Christmas Day was a pregnant female that likely suffered from infectious disease, according to a necropsy conducted by  Hawaiʻi Pacific University.
HPU Assistant Professor of Biology Kristi West said the animal, which measured 7-feet in length, was “very ill” with a number of medical problems.
“Blood work from the whale indicated an immuno-suppressed individual,” said West, who noted that “lung abnormalities” also suggested that the animal was suffering from pneumonia.
According to West, the medical problems likely represent an animal suffering from infectious disease.  “A large number of ulcers were apparent in the esophagus and the stomach. A large blood clot in a major blood vessel returning to the heart was also noted,” she said.
The necropsy examination also indicated that the whale was pregnant and had a fetus measuring 22 cm long.
Researchers say the investigation into the death of this whale will continue in the coming weeks to months as HPU’s Marine Mammal Stranding Program conducts follow-up laboratory analysis.  “This will include testing for specific viral and bacterial diseases known to cause the types of medical problems and overall ill health observed in this whale,” said West.
Authorities say the animal was found “weak and stuck in the surf zone,” at around 2:30 p.m. on Christmas Day.
“Volunteers held the animal in low water in surf zone for some time and then built a small sand pit at the mid-tide mark and kept the animal protected from wave wash. Cultural practitioners were contacted immediately and consulted,” according to information compiled by HPU.
“This is a deep-diving whale that typically does not come to shore unless injured or sick. The animal was severely emaciated and in a weakened state,” according to information released by HPU.
Following an evaluation by a NOAA contract veterinarian, the whale was sedated, given IV euthanasia solution, and expired at around 7 p.m. on Dec. 25.   The whale carcass was flown to Oʻahu in the afternoon on Dec. 26 for a necropsy examination at HPU that continued into the early morning hours of Dec. 27, officials said.
According to researchers at HPU, dwarf sperm whales strand in the main Hawaiian Islands once every year or two, however, “they are found only in deep waters, usually in close to 5,000-feet of water, and only on the calmest of days.”
West described the species as “very elusive in the wild,” making them very difficult to study at sea.
“Dwarf sperm whales often exhibit a strange behavior when approached, where they release a cloud of ink made up of dark fecal liquid stored in the rectum, and then they vanish. Therefore almost everything we know of this species comes from what we are able to learn from stranded whales,” said West.

4 comments:

  1. Finally we have proof that our marine friends are at least as capable as we humans are (or better: claim to be) when it comes to taking intelligent decisions. If given the choice between a quick and painful death and spending your (nonetheless very limited) remaining lifetime in starving condition and hardly less pain, I think most of us would go for the suicide pill (and hey, the chemical industry promises their latest cyanide products specifically designed for end-time use taste as sweet as grandma's cookies and yet have *zero* calories, truely amazing stuff !), wouldn't we* ?

    To be honest, I'm afraid there is a more plausible reason for the whale beaching itself**: in a desperate but nonetheless intelligent action, it concluded that the only option to save it from death is seeking for help, even if it means surrendering itself to the mercy of the species that it knows is usually its enemy.

    God knows what drives all the other poor creatures to show up everywhere near the coast in a "never-before-seen" behavior which "baffles" so-called "experts"*** claiming to lack any idea what might be causing it. In the end, it doesn't matter if these animals are simply following their instinct as they flee away from the poisonous cloud in the water (which I suspect they can smell or taste; maybe they even have the sensory for radiation that humans are lacking) or if they have commonly decided that it is finally time to make the very last call for human help.

    I feel deeply ashamed and saddened it has all come this way. Actually, I don't care about humanity, but I am not willing to accept the fact that all the literally innocent other forms of life on this planet are supposed to join us on the inevitable march into the nuclear grave, as they do not have the slightest share in generating this totally fucked-up situation.

    *Actually, there is no need for conjecture regarding that question - we'll all be facing the very same situation in a not-too-distant future. Sorry, folks, expedited evolution (tm) works that way.

    **One particular thing that always seemed "odd" to me about the English language is its use of "it", "its", "itself" etc when it comes to animals. I dislike the idea of animals being treated like things (which unfortunately humans tend to do lit(t)erally, not only in a grammatical sense). In German (my native language) the personal pronouns used for animal are the same as for human beings, eg "Sie" ("she") for a female cat or "Er" ("he") for a male lion. "Es" (it) only applies to actual things/objects, while in English the few existing gender-specific nouns like "tomcat" or "bitch" (I once read "she-dog" somewhere) would still be commonly substituted by "it" - except an author's use of "bitch" coincidentally refers to his ex-wife, Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton ;-)

    ***The word "experts" has deteriorated to a synonym for pseudo-scientists people who obviously are missing any sort of brain and/or conscience; thinking of them makes me feel sick.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, pimps looking for a grant, that is "expert"

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  2. Oh, one more thing: Please don't be mad at TEPCO.

    Yes, I know... some people mistook the *spent* fuel pool for the *bent* fuel pool on several occasion over the past twenty-five years or so.

    But let's keep it fair, folks, m'kay ? It's a typical beginner's mistake. Happens at your favorite nuclear power plant every other day. No big deal.

    Besides, I recently witnessed a spokesman on TV* personally affirming that "it is absolutely ridiculous ever to worry about ... anything ... and that ... no matter what ... ever happens ... will ever pose any safety or security threat to any nuclear reactor that has ever been built anywhere within and without the United States of America".
    And I need to add: that guy looked very proficient and respectable to me.

    After all, you - me - anyone could have made that stupid mistake......... NOT !

    *A brand-new 60" GE/HITACHI flat-screen with so-and-so-many-Hz anti-this-and-pro-that-technology. Yet the power consumption is very moderate, only 450 W @ 800 Wpp. I bought it the week before Christmas. The purchase will possibly render me bankrupt one day, but my inner voice told kept telling me that anyone resisting that amazing buy-now-pay-later offer at an annual interest rate of only 5 % is a fool, so what the heck ! That shiny box kind of makes me sooooo happy, sometimes I totally forget about everything else ! Sometimes the indicator LED of the built-in camera is alight although I do not use it, but the lady from service hotline told me that this happens at rare occasions due to a stupid firmware bug and that I can safely ignore it.

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