A Bad Time for Pilot Whales

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Rescuers today are working hard to rescue 16 pilot whales that have stranded themselves on shallow sand flats in the Florida Keys, two other whales were found dead on Thursday. Over a dozen volunteers have been working in shifts since Thursday to refloat the whales, their biggest enemy is the sun, the volunteers have been concentrating on keeping the whales hydrated and covering them with a form of zinc for protection. So far rescue workers have been able to relocate 6 of the whales to sea pen constructed with a boom.

The responders are being led by the non profit Marine Mammal Conservancy based in Key Largo, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the U.S Coast Guard are also helping with the rescue effort.

Slaughtered Pilot whale and calf

Slaughtered Pilot whale and calf

All of this is in stark contrast to what is happening in Japan. In the fishing town of Taiji, made infamous in the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove” they are extending their pilot whale hunting season for another month, in part because of the tsunami that hit Japan in March. The season has been extended until the 31st of May as not many whales were caught during the usual September to April season.

Pilot whales are part of the Dolphin family and as such are not protected under any international treaty. In Taiji the Dolphins are hunted by ship and by being driven into shore, trapped in nets and then slaughtered. The annual quota for pilot whales is 200, Kyodo news agency said on Wednesday Taiji fishermen caught about 60, Brian Barnes, an animal rights activist, in a post on the “Save Japan Dolphins” website stated that he saw about 40 pilot whales killed on Thursday and between 50 to 80 killed on Wednesday.

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published on May 6, 2011 by jason
tags: , , , , , , , category: aquatic life

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