Blue Whale Bonanza

Risso's Dolphin, Grampus griseus

Capt. Dave Beezer says that, despite stories the media hype, this year isn’t so special. They’re starting to see this many blue whales every year. “Santa Barabara is becoming the best place in the world to see blue whales,” he says.

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For Pelicans and Sea Lions in LA, Go to Marina Del Rey

Grooming Pelican, Marina Del Rey

Want to see sea lions in LA? Go to Marina Del Rey, just south of Venice Beach. By a fishing dock, you’ll see plenty of pelicans and a few sea lions trying to steal a meal.

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Lifesavers Rescues Another 100 Horses from Slaughter

Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue did it again: they scooped up another 100 horses that were about to be auctioned off to Mexican slaughter houses this weekend.

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Lifesavers May Save Even More Wild Horses At Auction Sept 18

Mustangs / wildhorserescue.org

Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue may be buying some more horses at auction today to save them from slaughter in Fallon, NV, Livestock exchange.

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Fabulous Possum Video: Ad Campaign or Satire?

Are these fabulous possum care instructional videos a viral ad scam? Or just a California wildlife rehabilitator with a sense of humor?

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Nugent Poaching Settlement Soft, but in Line with Other Cases

black  tailed deer

The fact that they caught the violation while watching his TV show shows me he clearly didn’t intend to break the rules. But if a highly successful NRA board member filming a TV show can’t get the rules straight, how can we expect the general public to do it?

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Ted Nugent: What Happened to Fair Chase Hunting?

black  tailed deer

Young male Columbian black-tailed deer, Walter Siegmund

Gun nut and 70s rock start Ted Nugent just pled no contest to two hunting violation in California. Game wardens originally filed 11 violations, including baiting a deer and hunting a buck that was too young, against him after seeing an episode of his “Spirit of the Wild” TV show. Once again we see that hunters may talk a lot about “fair chase,” but never seem to let it get in their way of a good time.

Nugent seems to have gotten off pretty lightly. The Sacremento Bee says he plead no contest “Friday in Yuba County Superior Court to two misdemeanors: baiting a deer and failing to have a deer hunting tag signed by a reviewing official after a kill. He was fined $1,750.” I didn’t know law enforcement offered the “neither admit nor deny any wrongdoing” deal to anybody but Wall Street crooks. Now, in his defense, I’d have to say that he truly didn’t understand the rules if he aired what he was doing on TV. But, if you hold yourself out as a defender of righteous hunting, then you better know and follow the rules.

Nugent posted a lame half-apology:

To my Fellow Outdoorsmen…. You may have read the news that I pled no contest to two misdemeanor game violations. I should have been better informed, more aware and I take full responsibility. The honorable hunting lifestyle is my deepest passion.

Ted Nugent

California bans hunting over bait–as most

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Santa Monica Sushi Restaurant Serves Whale, Makers of The Cove Document on Way to Pick Up An Oscar

Kujira Yukke

Sushi @ Tsukiji (Kujira Yukke) [whale sushi in Japan],courtesy of Hajime NAKANO.

The people who made The Cove, the documentary about Japanese Dolphin slaughter that won an Academy Award Sunday, used some of the same techniques to bust a hipster Santa Monica sushi restaurant for selling whale, the New York Times reports. DNA tests confirmed that a $60 piece of sushi that The Hump sold as whale was in fact the endangered Sei Whale (Balaenoptera borealis). that $60 piece of sushi was sei whale.

DNA-testing sushi is now becoming a food investigation mainstay; it’s almost as popular and fun as finding e. coli at food carts. But normally the results are the opposite: the fish is not what the restaurant says. It’s a cheap substitute. In this case it was on the Omakase, or tasting menu, and the wait staff told the undercover diners they were eating whale, sometimes calling it by its Japanese name, kujira.

The food blog Shizuokasushi explains how whale is served casually in Japan, though usually sperm whales. Japan hunts about 100 sei whales a year under the guise of “research,” according to the IUCN Red List.

Louie Psihoyos, photographer and director of The Cove, worked with “director of clandestine operations” Charles Hambleton, who made tiny cameras for diners to wear–once for themselves and a second time for investigators. An affadavit from investigators describes a search of the restaurant and suggests the whale may have arrived via a Mercedes parked out back.

It

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LA Rain So Polluted Pelicans Have to Be Treated Like Oil Spill Victims

Brown pelicans, just removed from the Endangered Species List three months ago, are getting slammed by California’s polluted storms. These swimming birds can cope with rain far more gracefully than whiny Los Angelenos have been. But the water is so polluted that they have to be treated like oil spill victims. The International Bird Rescue Research Center had 80 pelicans by 7 p.m. Friday and expects they’ll be treating 100 hypothermic birds this weekend.

There’s a bit of callous reaction to the brown pelican‘s plight. One comment on the Washington Post site said it was just the “circle of life.” But they aren’t dying because of storms; they’re freezing because the contaminants break down their natural waterproofing and insulation.

“Brown pelicans tend to feed and congregate near harbors and river mouths where nutrients from the runoff attract fish and other creatures. Pelicans can easily become dirty from pollution in these areas and can lose their waterproofing. The current massive runoff from the storms has brought even more grease, car oil sheen, fish oils and other forms of surface pollution into the coastal areas where these birds feed,” says executive director Jay Holcomb in a letter to supporters.

“We wash them just as if there had been an oil spill. We use dish-washing liquid,” spokesman Paul Kelway told the AP. It takes about a week and $500 of treatment for the birds to recover from hypothermia. The center has responded to 150 oil spills around the world and treated

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SF Sea Lions Still Missing; But Plans Hatching to Keep Next Year’s Crowd in Check

It’s hard to know what we should worry about San Francisco’s missing 1,700 sea lions. That they (and the popular tourist destination they’ve become) disappeared almost completely? Or should we blame the media for overblowing a normal seasonal swing, as Newsweek does? Or should we be more anxious that the population there was about double the usual number, which the area can’t really support?

 Harbormaster Hedley Prince think the story has gotten absurd media play considering their numbers always dip in the winter. He’s more worried about keeping the Hyde Street Pier clear of sea lions and wants to get permission to try a gentler method than electric shocks and pellets: he wants trained dogs to chase them away.

But, meanwhile, like everyone else, he can’t figure out why they vacated so completely. “This should be their happy time,” Prince says, noting that  a herring spawn means there’s plenty of food. But these California sea lions have always been inscrutable. No one knew why they showed up in 1989, why they reached record numbers this year. “Suddenly in August they all showed up,” says Prince. “It was the craziest thing.”

A dozen or so sea lions are still out in the area of Pier 39 and the Hyde Street Pier, Prince says. (You see the live webcam, though it’s pretty boring right now.) Three have fishing lines around their necks, the Marine Mammal Center says, which is trying to rescue them. The big males took off to

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