December 25, 2005 |
A sport fisherman was out on the water in August when a young killer whale suddenly approached his 20-foot craft and began to push against the auxiliary engine. The whale pushed hard enough to break the propeller. The frightened angler gunned his main engine and fled. Back at the dock, the skipper of a gillnet boat reported that he too had come close to the orca, though he had found joy in the encounter. "He was swimming right alongside the boat all the way in and surfing in the wake."
November 16, 2005 |
Puget Sound's orcas, the iconic black-and-white whales famed for their arching leaps alongside ferries and other marine traffic, were declared an endangered species by the federal government Tuesday. The designation, long sought by environmental groups, will provide "a better chance for keeping this population alive for future generations," said Bob Lohn, regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service.
July 9, 2005 |
The "slippery six," half a dozen killer whales whose home range is out on the Pacific Coast, are still feasting on harbor seals in the Puget Sound inlet of Hood Canal five months after their arrival -- an unprecedented stint, biologists say. They'd been reported gone on Wednesday, but were spotted again on Friday. "We're all calling back and forth," said volunteer observer Judy Dicksion, who lives near Seabeck on the 60-mile-long Hood Canal. "Everybody's like 'Oh, yeah!'
January 2, 2005 |
For a good time, follow the whales. The big boys of Planet Ocean vacation in some of the world's finest locations: the warm lagoons and bays of Hawaii and Mexico in winter, the clear waters of Canada and Alaska in summer. In some ways, they're like the seriously wealthy, tracking the sun to the world's playgrounds. The phenomenon hasn't escaped the travel industry, which thrives when the humpback, gray and blue whales come to town.
December 17, 2004 |
The Bush administration on Thursday proposed placing killer whales in Washington's Puget Sound on the list of endangered species, to keep the last 84 of these acrobatic and often photographed orcas from going extinct. The administration, which ruled two years ago that endangered species protections were unwarranted, reversed itself after a federal judge ordered it to reconsider its legal justifications.
May 4, 2004 |
Like a chattering couple struggling to be understood over the ruckus of rush hour, killer whales increase their chitchat when powerboats are nearby, a new study shows. In the April 29 issue of Nature, three researchers write that whales lengthen the duration of their calls when traffic approaches. The orcas -- black-and-white killer whales like Shamu -- started this behavior about a decade ago, when boat traffic increased off the coast of the Pacific Northwest, says co-author Richard W.
March 2, 2004 |
The Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife proposed Monday that Puget Sound's orcas be added to the state list of endangered species "because the marine mammals are at critically low levels and are vulnerable to several continuing threats." The department made the recommendation based on a recent status report indicating that the population of resident killer whales in Puget Sound and nearby waters has declined 18% since 1995.
February 22, 2004 |
Nearly 700 people turned out to bid farewell to Keiko, the killer whale who starred in the popular "Free Willy" movies and died of pneumonia last December in Norway. The crowd gathered at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, where Keiko lived from 1996 to 1998. Officials at the aquarium organized the event in response to hundreds of e-mails, letters and phone calls from Keiko's fans who sought closure.