Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Another Animal Dies at SeaWorld Bringing Death Toll to 4 Large Mammals in Just 4 Months

Another Animal Dies at SeaWorld Bringing Death Toll to 4 Large Mammals in Just 4 Months

It’s business as usual for SeaWorld.

Yet another animal has died under SeaWorld’s watch, bringing the embattled theme park’s death toll to four large marine mammals in just four months. Three of the deaths occurred at SeaWorld San Antonio. Dart, a male dolphin, was the latest to die while kept in captivity.

R.I.P., Dart: Died February 2016

This dolphin is the fourth cetacean to die prematurely at SeaWorld San Antonio since July. Just like many of the dolphins, orcas, belugas and walruses who died before him, he never knew the world outside SeaWorld’s tiny concrete tanks, never had the chance to swim freely with his family pod and never got to feel the ocean currents.

R.I.P., Betsy: Died January 2016

Betsy was recently relocated from SeaWorld San Diego, along with two other "longtime companions," SeaWorld said on its Facebook page.

Posted by News 13 on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Though Betsy lived to a mature age for a Commerson’s dolphin—an anomaly for an animal held at SeaWorld, which has a history wrought with premature animal deaths—the circumstances surrounding her death are troubling. Days before she died, she was transferred from SeaWorld San Diego to SeaWorld Orlando, a transport that was undoubtedly hard on the older animal. Betsy was reportedly stolen from her ocean home in 1983, along with 12 other Commerson’s dolphins, half of whom died within a year of captivity. SeaWorld recently announced that it will no longer keep Commerson’s dolphins in captivity, but 20 have reportedly already died in its care over the last 30 years. Hopefully, the remaining Commerson’s dolphins at SeaWorld will be the last to experience the abusement park’s concrete tanks.

R.I.P., Unna: Died December 2015

Unna, an 18-year-old orca imprisoned at SeaWorld San Antonio, died after prolonged suffering caused by the fungal infection candida. She was the 38th orca held by SeaWorld to die far short of her maximum life expectancy, which can be more than 100 years for female orcas in the wild. Her “life” in captivity consisted of being taken away from her mother just before her sixth birthday, being impregnated when she was only 8 years old, giving birth to a stillborn calf and being so deprived of enrichment and opportunities to engage in natural behavior that she obsessively picked at the paint on the bottom of SeaWorld’s show-pool floor until her face became badly injured.

Read page 1

R.I.P., Stella: Died November 2015

BREAKING: She was only two years old & could have lived DECADES longer. This isn't the first young beluga SeaWorld lost this year. http://peta.vg/1o3d

Posted by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) on Monday, November 16, 2015

Stella died at SeaWorld San Antonio at just 2 years old, well short of a beluga’s natural life expectancy of up to 50 years. Her death added to a tally of at least 58 beluga deaths at SeaWorld locations. SeaWorld and other aquariums have proved again and again that belugas cannot be bred successfully in tiny concrete tanks, where they’re denied everything that is natural and important to them.

Disturbing Pattern in Captivity

Thirty-eight orcas and at least 58 belugas have died on SeaWorld’s watch, along with more than a hundred dolphins. Reports indicate that another dolphin at SeaWorld San Antonio named Betty is currently being treated for a possible infection.

Though SeaWorld’s website claims that “there are no apparent connections” between the recent deaths at its San Antonio facility, the high number of premature and unusual deaths there and at the other SeaWorld locations points to a serious common denominator: captivity.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

150,000 Penguins Die After Huge Iceberg Blocks Route to Sea

This Viral Meme Says it All

Illegal Chilean Sea Bass Fishing Could Be Coming to an End, Thanks to Sea Shepherd

Gruesome Tumors on Sea Turtles Linked to Climate Change and Pollution

Sustainable t-shirts by Allbirds are made from a new, low-carbon material that uses a mineral extract from discarded snow crab shells. Jerry Buttles / Allbirds

In the age of consumption, sustainability innovations can help shift cultural habits and protect dwindling natural resources. Improvements in source materials, product durability and end-of-life disposal procedures can create consumer products that are better for the Earth throughout their lifecycles. Three recent advancements hope to make a difference.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A net-casting ogre-faced spider. CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics / CC BY-SA 3.0

Just in time for Halloween, scientists at Cornell University have published some frightening research, especially if you're an insect!

The ghoulishly named ogre-faced spider can "hear" with its legs and use that ability to catch insects flying behind it, the study published in Current Biology Thursday concluded.

"Spiders are sensitive to airborne sound," Cornell professor emeritus Dr. Charles Walcott, who was not involved with the study, told the Cornell Chronicle. "That's the big message really."

The net-casting, ogre-faced spider (Deinopis spinosa) has a unique hunting strategy, as study coauthor Cornell University postdoctoral researcher Jay Stafstrom explained in a video.

They hunt only at night using a special kind of web: an A-shaped frame made from non-sticky silk that supports a fuzzy rectangle that they hold with their front forelegs and use to trap prey.

They do this in two ways. In a maneuver called a "forward strike," they pounce down on prey moving beneath them on the ground. This is enabled by their large eyes — the biggest of any spider. These eyes give them 2,000 times the night vision that we have, Science explained.

But the spiders can also perform a move called the "backward strike," Stafstrom explained, in which they reach their legs behind them and catch insects flying through the air.

"So here comes a flying bug and somehow the spider gets information on the sound direction and its distance. The spiders time the 200-millisecond leap if the fly is within its capture zone – much like an over-the-shoulder catch. The spider gets its prey. They're accurate," coauthor Ronald Hoy, the D & D Joslovitz Merksamer Professor in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior in the College of Arts and Sciences, told the Cornell Chronicle.

What the researchers wanted to understand was how the spiders could tell what was moving behind them when they have no ears.

It isn't a question of peripheral vision. In a 2016 study, the same team blindfolded the spiders and sent them out to hunt, Science explained. This prevented the spiders from making their forward strikes, but they were still able to catch prey using the backwards strike. The researchers thought the spiders were "hearing" their prey with the sensors on the tips of their legs. All spiders have these sensors, but scientists had previously thought they were only able to detect vibrations through surfaces, not sounds in the air.

To test how well the ogre-faced spiders could actually hear, the researchers conducted a two-part experiment.

First, they inserted electrodes into removed spider legs and into the brains of intact spiders. They put the spiders and the legs into a vibration-proof booth and played sounds from two meters (approximately 6.5 feet) away. The spiders and the legs responded to sounds from 100 hertz to 10,000 hertz.

Next, they played the five sounds that had triggered the biggest response to 25 spiders in the wild and 51 spiders in the lab. More than half the spiders did the "backward strike" move when they heard sounds that have a lower frequency similar to insect wing beats. When the higher frequency sounds were played, the spiders did not move. This suggests the higher frequencies may mimic the sounds of predators like birds.

University of Cincinnati spider behavioral ecologist George Uetz told Science that the results were a "surprise" that indicated science has much to learn about spiders as a whole. Because all spiders have these receptors on their legs, it is possible that all spiders can hear. This theory was first put forward by Walcott 60 years ago, but was dismissed at the time, according to the Cornell Chronicle. But studies of other spiders have turned up further evidence since. A 2016 study found that a kind of jumping spider can pick up sonic vibrations in the air.

"We don't know diddly about spiders," Uetz told Science. "They are much more complex than people ever thought they were."

Learning more provides scientists with an opportunity to study their sensory abilities in order to improve technology like bio-sensors, directional microphones and visual processing algorithms, Stafstrom told CNN.

Hoy agreed.

"The point is any understudied, underappreciated group has fascinating lives, even a yucky spider, and we can learn something from it," he told CNN.

Trending

There are many different CBD oil brands in today's market. But, figuring out which brand is the best and which brand has the strongest oil might feel challenging and confusing. Our simple guide to the strongest CBD oils will point you in the right direction.

Read More Show Less
Financial institutions in New York state will now have to consider the climate-related risks of their planning strategies. Ramy Majouji / WikiMedia Commons

By Brett Wilkins

Regulators in New York state announced Thursday that banks and other financial services companies are expected to plan and prepare for risks posed by the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The left image shows the OSIRIS-REx collector head hovering over the Sample Return Capsule (SRC) after the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism arm moved it into the proper position for capture. The right image shows the collector head secured onto the capture ring in the SRC. NASA / Goddard / University of Arizona / Lockheed Martin

A NASA spacecraft has successfully collected a sample from the Bennu asteroid more than 200 million miles away from Earth. The samples were safely stored and will be preserved for scientists to study after the spacecraft drops them over the Utah desert in 2023, according to the Associated Press (AP).

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch