Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Close Call In Faroes

They came from everywhere!
Last Tues.12, a pod of pilot whales was sighted off the southern Faroese island of Suderoy at Tvoroyri. As Faroese headed towards Tvoroyri, the whales moved towards Hvalba, the most northerly of the beaches on the island.
Sea Shepherd's land-based volunteers saw locals with their killing tools heading to Hvalba, as the Faroese police dispatched a helicopter from Torshaven.
A police roadblock prevented SS land crew from following the whalers to the beach (even though whaling beaches are not closed during a grindadrĂ¡p). Some of the SS team managed to reach the beach prior to the roadblock, but were aggressively removed by the police.
Hvalba: not normally shut down...
By then, the Suderoy grindmaster had left with three boats to intercept the whales and begin to push them towards the beach.
Meanwhile SS's vessel Brigitte Bardot arrived, and saw three inflatables and a Naval vessel standing guard.
Shortly after, a Danish frigate entered the bay. The land volunteers saw people swarming in from other locations on the islands, carrying hooks and knives.
Just as BB arrived, the grindadrĂ¡p was called off by the grindmaster, citing bad currents: some disgruntled locals accused him of calling it off because of SS. Whatever the reason, the most important thing was that the potential slaughter was averted.
A year ago to the day, 450 pilot whales were slaughtered at Hvalba. In 2014, 87 volunteers and six boats stood guard for the whales.
No conflict. No killings.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Date Of The End Of The World!

We're all gonna DIE!
Planet Earth may be obliterated by an asteroid!!
And the boffins can even give us the YEAR this'll happen!!!
But don't worry: you and I will be long gone.
The coneheads reckon the Big One will happen on 16 March 2880. Riiiiiggghhhttt...
Of course, this is assuming we haven't poisoned, blown up or right royally fucked the planet over first!
However, good news is: scientists are also closer to working out how to stop this asteroid. Researchers at the University of Tennessee have found that blowing up the space rock, like in the movie Armageddon, could cause several collisions with the Earth...and that's not a good thing! So they feel the way to avoid calamity is to make changes to the surface of the asteroid in order to break it up in outer space.
The chances of Asteroid 1950 DA hitting Earth is 1-in-300, which the eggs reckon is small risk. But check out the stats:
This big rock has a diameter of 1km (3,280 feet) and is travelling at a speed of 14km (8.7 miles) per second. It'll hit Earth at around 61,000kmph (37,900 miles per hour).
The force of the collision would be like 44,800 megatons of TNT exploding and result in tsunamis and a huge change to Earth's climate.
OK, I'm rather glad I won't be here that day...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kaikoura's Cash Cow Protected

The NZ government has just launched the Kaikoura Whale Sanctuary on the east coast of the South Island.
The area is biologically rich and includes 500m deep ocean canyons which are home to giant squid which is the preferred prey of sperm
whales.
The sanctuary is nearly 5000 square km in area and provides protection for the sperm, humpback, Southern right, blue, killer and other whales that frequent the area. It is particularly relevant for the local and well-established sperm whale tourism industry which is now worth $134 million dollars a year.
Kaikoura is undoubtedly an excellent location for watching whales. The deep canyons are close to shore and the frequently sighted sperm whales make a spectacular sight seen against the area’s snow capped mountains.
So...
can we expect/hope that the desperately-needed New Zealand Dolphin (comprising the Hector's and Maui's dolphins) sanctuary will follow shortly? Our government has recognised the economic
importance of the Kaikoura whale watching industry but it also needs to recognise that our own unique dolphin is a very important tourism drawcard as well.
We must not be the generation under whose watch these unique creatures become extinct.