July 30, 2013

    Photo: Screenshot

WATCH: SeaWorld Pilot Whale Gets Stuck on Side of Tank

Rep claims animal was playing

SeaWorld is performing damage control after a visitor to its park in Orlando captured video of a pilot whale seemingly stuck on the side of its pool for 20 minutes.

Carlo De Leonibus had taken his 11-year old daughter to the park for her birthday when the dolphin-like whale beached itself on a ledge on the side of the tank and began to flap its tail back and forth.

"The crowd was in a rage, in an uproar," De Leonibus said in an interview with WTSP. "Some of them were stomping their feet. The gentleman behind me threatened to go protest." After about 20 minutes, two trainers arrived and pushed the struggling mammal back into the water.

In a statement, SeaWorld spokesperson Nick Gollattscheck said that the pilot whale's behavior was totally normal, and was a kind of play. "The younger and more inexperienced animals—like the one in the video—sometimes take a little longer to find their way back to the water because they haven't completely mastered the technique yet. When that happens the animal is constantly monitored by our animal trainers," he said. "The whale was never in danger."

In response, PETA told the Huffington Post that the video was just another example of SeaWorld's mistreatment of marine mammals. "Whether they show a pilot whale stranded on a concrete ledge in front of a shocked crowd, an orca killing his trainer, or intelligent, sensitive whales forced to swim day in and day out in tiny circles for a reward of dead fish, these videos are a potent reminder that SeaWorld keeps marine mammals trapped in concrete tanks that bear no resemblance to their habitat in the wild, with no room in which to swim, no family groups, and no stimulation," the group said in an email.

See the video for yourself below.



The video emerged in the wake of the release of Blackfish, a documentary that takes a critical look at the treatment of captive orcas at SeaWorld.

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    Photo: Royal Thai Navy

Thai Oil Spill Forces Evacuation

Tourists forced off the beaches

Tourists and residents were evacuated from Thailand’s Phrao Bay Tuesday after an estimated 5,000 liters of crude oil washed up on the island. The oil leaked into the ocean from an offshore pipeline owned and operated by PTT Global Chemical, the nation’s largest petrochemical producer.

An estimated 50,000 liters (13,000 gallons) have spilled into the ocean since the line ruptured on July 27, according to National Geographic. Some Thai officials fear it could be much worse than reported. "If that (50,000 litres) was the real amount, they should have already eliminated it, they should have solved the problem fast enough before it reached Samet island," said Sathit Pitutacha of Thailand's Democrat Party.

American environmental group Greenpeace has also weighed in, calling the spill “massive” and condemning continued oil exploration in the Gulf of Thailand.

PTT Global Chemical says they have deployed oil booms to contain the spill and are using oil dispersants. They also say that the Thai navy has joined some 300 PTT workers in cleaning up the area. 

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A wolf and her pups.     Photo: HyperLemon

Michigan's Wolf Hunt Delayed

Due to high demand

Due to high demand, the Department of Natural Resources is delaying its sale of licenses for Michigan's first wolf hunt until September 28, the agency announced today. Licenses were originally set to go on sale this Saturday.

"This is a first-come, first-served purchase, unlike other limited-license hunts that require an application and drawing process, so it presents a new challenge for our retail sales system," Adam Bump, DNR bear and furbearer specialist said in a release. "We want to make sure the system is equipped for the high volume so sales go smoothly and everyone has an equal chance to get a wolf license."

The delay is not expected to impact the hunt which is slated to begin November 15. On September 28, 1,200 licenses will be available for over-the-counter purchase with the take limited to 43 wolves.

There are 658 wolves in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, where the hunt is permitted. Earlier this month, Michigan's Natural Resources Commission voted to allow the hunt but did not take up a provision that would have permitted trapping.

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    Photo: Don O'Brien/Flickr

New Zealander Attempts to Hike North Korean Range

Attempting to bridge the gap

A former cop hopes to be the first person in modern memory to hike the Korean peninsula's 870-mile mountain range, the Baekdudaegan, which runs from North Korea's border with China to the South Korean coast.

According to an article in the New York Times, Roger Shepherd, from New Zealand, is the first foreigner to hike in the remote mountains of North Korea since the division of North and South Korea. The 47-year-old plans to return to North Korea in August in hopes that the two countries will let him cross the demilitarized zone.

Mr. Shepherd's ambition draws upon the near-religious reverence Koreans feel for Baekdudaegan, and for Baekdusan, its tallest peak at 2,744 meters, or about 9,000 feet. The South Korean national anthem opens with a reference to Baekdusan. North Koreans calls themselves the "Baekdusan nation."

"Koreans often say that mountains are part of their DNA, part of who they are,” Mr. Shepherd said in an interview. "When I talk about mountains in South and North Korea, people just ease up and talk about a subject that has no enemy."

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