California Sea Lions at Westport, Washington - ©ingridtaylar Because this is happening a few hours from home, I'm posting to bring some attention to the issue. I haven't included any graphic photos, but the subject matter is the hazing and culling of California sea lions. Just south of our Washington border, in Astoria, Oregon, the Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is trapping and branding sea lions at the Bonneville Dam on the [...]
This great seal-pup video has been making the rounds. In case you haven't seen it yet ... Ethan Janson, a local windsurfer from Three Tree Point (south of Seattle) noticed that harbor seals were hauling out on a surfboard he'd tied to a buoy out in Puget Sound. He hooked up a GoPro camera, remotely, and captured this footage of a seal pup trying desperately to haul out on the slippery board. Before posting this, [...]
"She" could be a "he," this harbor seal, and only she knows -- stirring from the depths and shallows of Elliott Bay, gliding, reflected alongside us. She rounds the rock bend ... she, the fusiform one, tapered and sleek ... propelled through the tide by hind flippers. Harbor Seal - ©ingridtaylar In a pinniped world where there's no strong, visible distinction* between she and her male, I err on the side of feminist [...]
I love seeing signs like this ... Two such signs were posted at Point Robinson Lighthouse on Vashon Island in Washington, one of the few public-access beaches in the area. It's the same spot where I photographed the large flock of Brant Geese foraging along the shoreline earlier this year. On a crystal day, this is the view from that beach: The ship traffic comes from the Port of Tacoma, passing northward between [...]
Note: Taking into account my title ... no sea lions were harmed in the deployment of these "seal bombs." There is, however, one dead salmon -- a sea lion's meal. I'm a relatively new witness to the conflicts in the Pacific Northwest between humans, sea lions, salmon, tribes, dams, fish ladders, and fisher people. As such, this was my first experience watching explosive sea lion deterrents in use at the Ballard Locks ... ATF-regulated "seal [...]
(about pinnipeds) This group of California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) was hauled out on a dock in Westport, Washington. The scene reminded me of Pier 39 in San Francisco -- although on a much smaller scale. California sea lions are a protected species and, by law, all marine mammals should be viewed from a distance of 100 yards wherever possible. These images were shot with my 70-300mm lens, with a reach of 600mm (35mm equivalent), [...]
Tucker isn't really interested in the water. But, he spends his working days on a boat, sniffing out orca scat in the breezes of the Salish Sea. He's a labrador mix, trained as part of the Conservation Canine program -- at the University of Washington's Center For Conservation Biology. Tucker's ambivalence about water actually makes him the perfect dog for this job, since he's a lot more valuable on board than he would be splashing [...]
Orcas can't, of course, pick out sofas. But if they could, they would tell you that their survival may depend on the product and furniture choices we make -- and the industries we support in the process. The orcas of the Salish Sea, who regularly cross the international boundary between Washington State and British Columbia, are among the most PCB-contaminated marine mammals in the world (Ross, Fireproof Killer Whales). They also harbor high levels of [...]
In preparation for a short trip where we may or may not encounter Orcas (again), I'm immersed in literature about the Southern and Northern resident pods and about significant issues affecting whales and other wild marine mammals -- like sonar, salmon stocks and Puget Sound pollution. We'll be out just one of those days in an inflatable, with a captain who's part of the Pacific Whale Watch Association and who abides by the most strict [...]
I went out to photograph ducks in this morning's fresh snow. As I approached the pond, I noticed that ALL of the Mallards (every single one) were sitting on the banks. I felt the reverb of a huge splash in my periphery and thought, wow, big fish. Sturgeon-caliber fish. When "it" resurfaced, "it" had a face. With whiskers. North American River Otter - Lontra canadensis
I received a notice tonight from Defenders of Wildlife, asking for help in finding the killer of a young sea otter. The female otter was found along Morro Strand in June of this year -- slain illegally, with the post-mortem revealing a shot to her head. In seeking additional information on this case, I landed on a photo page with some video of the young otter's necropsy. Turns out, it is a small [...]
The view from the Marine Mammal Center's visiting area, above the rehab pens for sea lions and other Marine Mammals.
Just saw this video from Jean-Michel Cousteau who, in the aftermath of the SeaWorld incident, implores us humans to rethink our misguided ideas about captivity for marine mammals. Couldn't agree more.
I saw this otter on my way home from Morro Bay last week. He was foraging and grooming around the public pier at Moss Landing. The otter was awfully far away for my lens, so these shots are heavily cropped, not too crisp. But they capture the moment. He (or she) had repeated success diving for the huge mollusks pictured below. I rarely get close enough to sea otters to get clear, sharp captures. They [...]
Hugh and I had another wildlife harassment incident this past week with a family on the Mendocino coast. We hiked over an unpopulated bluff and saw a mom and kids chasing a young sea lion across the rocks for a photo op. Their actions were forcing the young animal away from her resting spot, as she struggled to climb over each obstacle in her way. It took me five minutes to descend to the [...]