Parks & Wildlife Service, Western Australia / Twitter

More Than 140 Whales Dead After Mass Stranding in Western Australia

More than 150 short-finned pilot whales stranded en masse at Hamelin Bay on the west coast of Australia early Friday morning.

Most of the whales did not survive after beaching themselves, according to Jeremy Chick, incident controller at Western Australia's Parks & Wildlife Service.

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Trump Watch

Trump Administration Offers 77 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico to Oil Industry

The Trump administration is holding the biggest offshore oil and gas lease auction in U.S. history Wednesday, offering all 77 million acres of unleased, available federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

The sale comes as administration officials seek to rescind drilling safety rules approved after the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, reduce royalties paid by oil companies, and expand offshore drilling into every ocean in the country.

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Loggerhead turtle trapped in an abandoned drifting net in the Mediterranean Sea. Jordi Chias / naturepl.com

640,000 Metric Tons of Ghost Gear Enters Oceans Each Year

Governments around the world are waking up to the scourge of plastics on our oceans and its creatures by banning items such as shopping bags and drinking straws. But an often-overlooked form of plastic waste is also a major threat to our seas: "ghost" gear.

A report released Thursday from World Animal Protection highlights that every year 640,000 metric tons of fishing nets are lost or discarded in our oceans each year, trapping and killing countless marine mammals, including endangered whales, seals and turtles. Shallow coral reef habitats also suffer further degradation from the gear, which can take up to 600 years to decompose.

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A little whale and its mother, photographed in Feb. 2008, are two of only a few hundred North Atlantic right whales on Earth. GA DNR

Scientists Haven't Seen a Single North Atlantic Right Whale Calf This Season

The North Atlantic right whale is already one of the most endangered whales, with fewer than 450 of the iconic marine mammals left on the planet.

But the situation appears to be getting worse: Researchers tracking the whales' usual calving grounds off Georgia and northern Florida have not seen a single calf yet this breeding season, which started in December and peaks in January and February.

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Scientists Connect Camera to Minke Whale in World-First Study

For the first time ever, scientists in Antarctica have attached a camera to a minke—one of the most poorly understood of all the whale species.

And in an incredible bonus for researchers, the camera (which adheres with suction cups) slid down the side of the animal—but stayed attached—providing remarkable video of the way it feeds.

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Fungie the dolphin in Ireland, where 250,000 bottlenose dolphins visit every summer. Belinda Wicks

Irish Parliament Votes to Ban New Fossil Fuel Exploration

Ireland's Dáil Éireann, the country's lower house of parliament, voted 78-48 Thursday to advance a bill to stop the government from issuing new contracts for both on and offshore oil and gas exploration.

Despite strong opposition from the Irish government, the legislation was backed by thousands of activists, campaigners, parliamentarians as well as a surprising supporter who believes in life after oil: Cher.

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Whale sharks can ingest 200 pieces of plastic per day.

Microplastics Pose Major Problems for Ocean Giants

Some of our oceans' largest creatures are being threatened by the tiniest bits of plastic that litter our seas, a new analysis published in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution found.

Filter-feeding marine animals such as manta rays and whale sharks swallow hundreds to thousands of cubic meters of water a day to capture plankton to eat. But at the same time, these gentle giants are swallowing up microplastics from plastic-filled waters or through contaminated prey.

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Christopher Michel / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Emergency Order Aims to Protect Resident Orcas

Canada is losing a lot of its wildlife. The World Wildlife Fund's 2017 Living Planet Report Canada found half the monitored mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian and fish species declined from 1970 to 2014. Threatened and endangered species continue to disappear despite federal legislation designed to protect them and help their populations recover. What's going wrong?

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Oil Spill Spreading in East China Sea 'Now the Size of Paris'

By Andy Rowell

There are increasing environmental and health concerns surrounding the oil spill in the East China Sea from the Iranian registered tanker, the Sanchi, which sank on Monday carrying 136,000 tons, or one million barrels, of a highly flammable oil mix called condensate.

The tanker had burned for a week before exploding after colliding with another ship on Jan. 6, with all 32 crew now presumed dead or missing.

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