CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 |
A prominent marine biologist who was fined $12,500 for feeding killer whales in an effort to lure them closer to her video cameras says the yearslong case was the " worst nightmare I could ever imagine. " In addition to the fine, Nancy Black -- whose work has appeared on PBS, National Geographic and Animal Planet -- was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to serve 300 hours of community service. In exchange, she pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act by offering food to the orcas, "specifically chunks of gray whale blubber," according to her plea agreement . Black, a researcher and co-owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, and her supporters have argued a ttaching a rope to a piece of blubber from a gray whale that had already been killed by orcas did not rise to the level of illegal feeding cited in federal law. But the biologist had faced a 27-year prison term and $700,000 fine after she was initially charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts in 2012.
February 25, 2010 |
A killer whale fatally attacked an animal trainer at SeaWorld in Florida on Wednesday, jerking her into the pool and thrashing her around underwater as dozens of horrified tourists watched. The orca had been involved in two previous deaths, including one at the water park in 1999. Dawn Brancheau, 40, was finishing a session with Tilikum, a 12,000-pound male killer whale, after a midday show at the Orlando theme park. Witnesses said the killer whale grabbed her by the upper arm, disappeared underwater with her and swam to the other side of the tank, flailing her around.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 1992 |
Scientists in Monterey Bay saw a rare sight last week: a pod of killer whales attacking and devouring the offspring of a California gray whale. Videotapes made at the scene may be the best documentation yet of the phenomenon. In two attacks last week, several orcas, or killer whales, followed female gray whales and their calves. The orcas isolated and killed the younger whales.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 28, 1990
In response to "Shadow Over Sea World" (Part A, Nov. 19): If Sea World based its decisions genuinely on what's best for the animals instead of its economic dependence on killer whales, it would not pursue obtaining additional orcas. In this age of environmental sensitivity, there is a growing force questioning whether or not some species should be held captive at all. Since animal deaths are a matter of public record, marine parks can no longer dismiss their critics. Questions remain unanswered surrounding the recent deaths of orcas in particular: Orky had lost nearly one-third of his weight during his last 20 months at San Diego.
April 9, 1989 |
In the underwater distance, I saw the shark's glistening tail fall toward the ocean floor. Then its silvery head. The 8-foot fish was being wildly devoured by orca whales. I had never seen orcas in clear water before, certainly never at the Equator, and certainly never in the frenzy of the hunt. But here were the so-called "killer whales" cruising just above me in the tropical seas of Wuvulu, New Guinea, a day after we had first spotted them. Orcas are the masters of the ocean.
November 18, 2003 |
They roam large parcels of the Pacific in small hunting parties, working together, relying on stealth and striking savagely and without notice. They're killer whales, and they're on the loose off Southland shores. Ken Kurtis, co-owner of Reef Seekers Dive Co. in Beverly Hills, was coming back from a recent dive trip off Santa Barbara Island, where he had seen and photographed a wolf eel -- a rare sighting in Southland waters -- and thought his day had been made.
June 29, 2007 |
The dolphin didn't stand a chance once it had been separated from its pod. The killer whales overwhelmed the smaller mammal. They hurled their massive bodies out of the water and splashed down on top of it, grabbing it with their teeth and tossing it through the air. "They were playing with it just like a cat plays with a mouse," Tyler Elzig, captain of the fishing boat Sea Horse, said of what he witnessed Sunday. "It was the most intense thing I've seen in my entire life on the water."
April 30, 1989 |
While gulls circle overhead, the good life is about to begin for dozens of vacationers sailing to Washington's peaceful San Juan Islands. Urban pressures melt away as the ferry's engine sets a rhythm that spells relaxation. Small islands appear on either side as the vessel plows ahead on this spring afternoon, clouds scudding on the horizon. It is during spring and fall that the San Juans are particularly inviting--moments when narrow roads and small villages are uncrowded and innkeepers offer a special welcome.
April 2, 2006 |
Back in December, we wrote about Luna, a sociable young orca that had adopted the waters off this remote inlet town as its home almost five years ago. A dolphin-sized 2-year-old when he showed up alone in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, the orca would often rub up against boats, spray people beside the dock and allow residents to pet him and rub his tongue.