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May 13, 2009

Whale Wednesday

Welcome to Whale Wednesday, the first ever hump(back) day feature devoted to cetaceans. I’m taking a cue from Oceans4Ever, the masters of alliterative weekly features, like Make a Difference Monday and Freaky Fish Friday. Hopefully this will become a semi-regular feature — what’s not to love about whales, after all? Today, three scintillating stories about cetaceans: 1. The Seattle Times reports on the first scientific review of the effort to reintegrate Keiko, the “Free Willy” orca, into the wild. The paper, which appears in the journal Marine Mammal Science, shows that while Keiko wasn’t accepted by other orcas and had to be fed frozen fish until he died in 2003, he lived a longer life span than any other captive male orca. Turns out Willy’s freedom was only possible on screen — having been captured at the age of 2, he had been held in captivity too long to make it on his own. 2. As Dot Earth reports today, a new study in Marine Mammal Research suggests that blue whales could be moving into old pre-whaling migratory patterns in the Pacific. 3. An interesting post at WaterNotes about Sarah’s quest to learn every species of dolphin and whale. Did you know dolphins are technically whales? One of Sarah’s favorite is the pilot whale. Mine has to be the blue whale. What’s yours?