Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gray Whales Begin A Long Migration

Thousands of gray whales are heading south for winter. 

  In Fall, groups--or pods--of gray whales leave the cold seas of Alaska where they feed all summer long to spend their winters in the warm and clear waters of Mexico. This is called a migration.  It is one of the longest migration routes in nature.  

Two weeks ago we saw over 20 gray whales swim past us along the Central Coast of California.  A gray whale swims about 6 miles per hour.

Of all the whales in the ocean, gray whales are the oldest baleen whales in the world. (Baleen means these whales do not have sharp teeth like killer whales.)

By the end of December most of the gray whales will reach the Mexican waters of Baja California. 

It's not as easy to safely swimming this 5,000 mile route as it was before us humans came upon the scene.  Over 100 years ago humans hunted gray whales almost to the point where there were only a few left.  But gray whales are protected from big time hunting.  This helped gray whales rebuild their population.

Neptune 911 For Kids will update the gray whale migration later in December.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Entanglement. A Big Word.

Entanglement.  That’s a big word.  It’s also a big job to rescue animals from the sea that are entangled.

A whale entangled in fishing net
Entanglement means that a whale, a dolphin or any other kind of sea life has been caught and is tangled in old fishing lines, fish nets, ropes, and plastic trash floating in the oceans.  Most entangled mammals die if entangled because they need to surface for air.  If their fins, flippers or tails are wrapped up in old fish nets, the mammal weakens and finds it hard to swim, dive, swim, dive—how many mammals eat and breathe.

A sea lion with a plastic bag around its neck
Sometimes seals and dolphins swim through plastic that is used to wrap boxes. The plastic ring gets caught around their necks.  As the animal grows, the plastic ring digs deeper and deeper into their neck.  Many die from choking.

There are people around the world who work to save marine mammals that are entangled.

What can you do to help entangled marine mammals? 

  •        Learn more about marine mammals. Many Cub Scouts, Brownies, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts clubs offer marine mammal badges.
  •       Recycle plastics.  Better yet, reduce plastic use.
  •       Say no to plastic bags. Bring your own reusable bag for shopping.
  •       Volunteer with your family, friends, club or church group to clean up creeks, rivers or beaches where you live.
  •        If you see a seal, dolphin or other marine life on the beach, ask an adult to call for help.  Be sure to not touch the animal.  Keep dogs away from the animal.