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Animals

Orca Whale J50 'Missing and Now Presumed Dead'

The ailing orca whale J50 was declared "missing and now presumed dead" by the Center for Whale Research Thursday, after a three-day search by the organization in the waters between Washington state and Canada failed to locate her.

She would be the third Southern Resident killer whale to die since June, bringing their numbers down to 74.

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Minke whales dragged aboard the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru. Customs and Border Protection Service, Commonwealth of Australia

Japan Aims to Overthrow 32-Year-Old Global Whaling Ban

Japan is proposing a slew of rule changes at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Florianópolis, Brazil this week that conservationists worry would ultimately lift a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling.

Japan, which launched a "scientific whaling" program in 1987 as a loophole to the moratorium, has killed more than 15,600 whales in the Antarctic since the ban (including juvenile and pregnant minke whales), according to a report released last month by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI).

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Tahlequah or J35, has carried her dead calf for 17 days as of Thursday. Center for Whale Research

Orca Mother Still Carrying Her Dead Calf 17 Days Later

Tahlequah—a southern resident killer whale whose heartbreaking story has captured attention around the world—has been carrying her dead calf for more than two weeks now.

Ken Balcomb of the Center for Whale Research told The Seattle Times that the mother orca has pushed the carcass for a 17th straight day for more than 1,000 miles as of Thursday.

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Debra McGuire / Getty Images

More Than 17,500 Square Miles Protected for Hawaii's False Killer Whales

Monday the National Marine Fisheries Service designated 17,500 square miles of ocean as protected critical habitat for Hawaii's false killer whales, a dolphin species whose numbers have dwindled to around 150 in the wild.

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A photo posted by Hard to Port shows an Icelandic company having killed what some say is an endangered blue whale. Hard to Port / Facebook

Some Experts Say Icelandic Whaling Company Killed an Endangered Blue Whale

Update, July 20: Genetic testing by Iceland's Marine Research Institute revealed the whale killed off the coast of Iceland that some experts thought was an endangered blue whale was actually a blue and fin whale hybrid, BBC News reported Friday. The findings corroborate the claims of the whaling company responsible for the kill. Blue and fin whale hybrids are still rare and it is illegal to trade their meat, researchers told BBC News.

Anti-whaling group Hard to Port posted photos on their Facebook page Tuesday that activist group Sea Shepherd claims show an endangered blue whale recently killed by an Icelandic whaling company, the Australian ABC News reported Thursday.

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Showdown Expected as Japan Plans to Resume For-Profit Whaling

For years, the Japanese government has hunted whales under the name of "scientific research." Now officials are angling to resume commercial whaling at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting this September in Brazil.

At the meeting, officials "will propose setting a catch quota for species whose stocks are recognized as healthy by the IWC scientific committee," Hideki Moronuki, an official in charge of whaling at Japan's fisheries agency, told Agence France-Presse.

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Iceland Flouts Global Ban to Slaughter First Protected Fin Whale of New Hunting Season

Iceland's multi-millionaire rogue whaler Kristján Loftsson and his company Hvalur hf have resumed their slaughter of endangered fin whales in blunt defiance of the international ban on commercial whaling.

The hunt is Iceland's first in three years and marks the start of a whaling season that could see as many as 239 of these majestic creatures killed.

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Orca Whale 'Crewser' Presumed Dead as Population Reaches Its Lowest Point Since 1984

Following the suspected death of an orca whale nicknamed Crewser, the population of southern resident orca whales is the lowest it has been in 34 years, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.

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Owen Freeman

What’s Happening to the North Atlantic Right Whale Is Just Plain Wrong

By Jason Bittel

Imagine if safari-goers in Africa came upon an elephant trudging through the brush covered in a tangle of ropes and netting. What if, on closer inspection, they found that the animal's mouth was blocked, preventing it from eating, or that lengths of rope had coiled around and cut into its legs, making every stride a battle? Imagine if the last thing those tourists saw was the elephant disappearing into the forest, dragging a veritable ball and chain of man-made debris behind it.

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