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Canada Earth Science

Orca Identified As 103 Years Old 194

Posted by samzenpus
from the looking-goog-for-her-age dept.
guises (2423402) writes "The oldest known orca has recently been spotted off western Canada at an age of 103. A female nicknamed 'granny,' photos exist of her from the 1930s, where she can be identified by her distinctive saddle patch. The news has prompted calls for another evaluation of marine mammals in captivity — orcas in captivity usually don't live beyond their 20s."
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Orca Identified As 103 Years Old

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  • on old whales (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nadaou (535365) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:32AM (#47006855) Homepage

    impressive, since the first thing we do is compare to ourselves as some sort of We're #1! thing.

    I always found this story of a 100 year old harpoon being found in the back of a modern whale to be a pretty wild reality check:

    http://www.nature.com/news/200... [nature.com]

  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @03:56AM (#47006933) Homepage Journal

    I don't think it's the confinement. Wolves which range hundreds of miles are kept in captivity by humans in small areas (dogs), and they live far longer with humans than in the wild.

    I think it's the water quality. Dog poop and urine don't mix with the air, they don't breathe it in. Marine animals on the other hand, DO breathe their own feces. Which is why it's essential to have a large volume of water per animal, as happens in nature.

    I have guppy fish in a 30 gallon tank. They almost never live past 2 years in captivity. In nature however, guppies live 5 years or more.

    I've been thinking of doing an experiment for quite a while. Take two groups of guppies, one in a common aquarium environment, say 10 guppies in a 10 gallon tank (1 inch of fish per gallon). The other group would live in a far less dense tank, maybe 5 guppies in a 200 gallon tank. (5 would be the minimum number since guppies are communal fish and they don't do well mentally unless they're in a group). And compare the fish lifespan in the the 2 groups.

  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quantaman (517394) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:31AM (#47007055)

    I don't think it's the confinement. Wolves which range hundreds of miles are kept in captivity by humans in small areas (dogs), and they live far longer with humans than in the wild.

    I think it's the water quality. Dog poop and urine don't mix with the air, they don't breathe it in. Marine animals on the other hand, DO breathe their own feces. Which is why it's essential to have a large volume of water per animal, as happens in nature.

    I have guppy fish in a 30 gallon tank. They almost never live past 2 years in captivity. In nature however, guppies live 5 years or more.

    I've been thinking of doing an experiment for quite a while. Take two groups of guppies, one in a common aquarium environment, say 10 guppies in a 10 gallon tank (1 inch of fish per gallon). The other group would live in a far less dense tank, maybe 5 guppies in a 200 gallon tank. (5 would be the minimum number since guppies are communal fish and they don't do well mentally unless they're in a group). And compare the fish lifespan in the the 2 groups.

    Dogs have co-evolved with humans for hundreds of years. We'd expect them to be fairly well adapted though they can still get some serious psychological issues.

    Cats haven't been around as long, but cats are generally solitary to begin with so might do better with isolation.

    Orca are highly social, perhaps moreso than humans. And an aquarium can hardly compare to the ocean in sensory complexity. It's basically like sticking a human in solitary confinement, it's inhumane and they tend to go crazy.

    I love the idea of going to an aquarium and seeing Orca swimming around. But I can't imagine a way of doing so that doesn't essentially amount to torturing the poor animals, Seaworld and the like should absolutely be shut down.

  • by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:31AM (#47007057)

    You say that keeping a whale in captivity for education and entertainment is wrong, because it dies sooner than in the wild (which btw is not proven by this single grandmother killer whale). But I am just curious: the beef and pork you eat is also 'grown' in cages. We over eat purely for entertainment (you cannot convince me we need a 400g steak, that is entertainment), and since kids have to learn how to prepare food, it will be used for education too. So how is that different?

    Yes, humans are the dominant species on the planet. And yes, we abuse animals sometimes. I do not think there is a problem with Sea World. I think the major problem is that we harrass animals also in the wild. Whales are affected by the noise of ship engines, and all marine life is affected by the pollution we produce. Stop complaining about Sea World, and just try to make this world cleaner. Then you make a real impact.

  • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @04:58AM (#47007135) Homepage

    I'm taking my wife on vacation to a resort. She has always wanted to swim with dolphins, and given the recent hate mongering about captive cetaceans I anticipate it the opportunity will be lost forever in the US within 15 years. It's unfortunate our kids won't have the same opportunities.

    Oh, boo-hoo. Take a boat offshore, bob around in the water for a bit and if any dolphins want to swim with you, they can. There are plenty of places where they do.

    Taking this campaign to its logical conclusion, they will probably eventually call for a closure of all zoos.

    There are more reasons to run a zoo [wikipedia.org] than simply to entertain the gawking masses.

    Oh, and god forbid you go see animals on safari. That's exploitation as well.

    Who says that?

    Your tasty snack is based on the suffering of dairy cows, who live for only a few short years before they are brutally killed and ground into burger. How can you live with yourself?

    While still holding the view that cetaceans shouldn't be kept in captivity for little more than entertainment purposes? Pretty well, actually.

    Your basic cow has been domesticated for centuries. Living on a farm in a herd and getting turned into burgers is what a cow is these days. It's not like they're highly intelligent or highly social animals. Release a cow into the wild, and it wouldn't have the capacity to understand that it was anywhere other than on a bigger farm.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday May 15, 2014 @07:47AM (#47007649)

    because it dies sooner than in the wild (which btw is not proven by this single grandmother killer whale).

    Existing scientific observations of Orcas in the wild give their average lifespan as 60 to 70 years. Vs about 20 in captivity. It's not even close.

    And to add insult to injury, the staff as SeaWorld are trained to lie about this: they claim the average expectancy in the wild is about 20 years. (ref: the documentary Blackfish has video evidence of this.)

    But I am just curious: the beef and pork you eat is also 'grown' in cages.

    As I'm sure your mother told you, two wrongs don't make a right. Generally people make a distinction between captive wild animals, and domesticated animals bred as livestock. Whether that is a justifiable distinction is a mater of personal morality.

    I do not think there is a problem with Sea World.

    Then you should seek out Blackfish and watch it.

    Of course I agree that out abuse of the natural environment and the animals in it is a huge problem. But that doesn't let SeaWorld off the hook.

  • Re:Fuck seaworld (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Paul Jakma (2677) <paul+slashdot@jakma.org> on Thursday May 15, 2014 @09:36AM (#47008325) Homepage Journal

    There are numerous examples of highly advanced behaviours in Orcas, e.g. hunting strategies that require significant forward planning and close co-operation to pull off. E.g. washing seals off ice floes by swimming in tight formation to create a large bow wave. They also have complex social structures and behaviours, as with other dolphins and most whales generally. Mothers have been seen to teach calves hunting skills, e.g. pods that beach-hunt mothers have been seen "instructing" calves on how to do it, even pushing them toward the beach. This is clear evidence of culture - a very high-order behaviour. There is also strong evidence that Orcas have languages, differing significantly between different groupings.

    In "Blackfish" it was reported that a pod of Orcas, that had had calves taken before, adopted a strategy to try foil the hunters. They split up with one group of adults swimming down one sound, breaching regularly to attract the attention of the hunters and divert them; while another group of mothers swam quietly with the calves down another sound (unfortunately, the hunters had a spotter aircraft). That story, if true, shows incredibly advanced planning, problem solving and organisational abilities.

    You could go on and on. There is, to my understanding, *ample* evidence that these are *highly* intelligent animals, and are used to living very social and inter-dependent lives. On the latter social aspect, their needs potentially may even be much greater than ours.

Philogyny recapitulates erogeny; erogeny recapitulates philogyny.

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