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This amazing video, that was just published on YouTube today, shows humpback whales, gray whales, and Risso’s dolphins, surfacing off the coast of beautiful Monterey, California. It’s almost like being there, on the boat with those lucky whale watchers.
A species of African monkey little observed in captivity or the wild was born at the Sacramento Zoo in Sacramento, California over the weekend.
The arrival of the Wolf’s Guenon monkey was the first infant of Mimi, born at the San Diego Zoo in 2007, and Eddie, born at the San Antonio Zoo in 1995. Both were welcomed to the Sacramento Zoo in the Fall.
Wolf’s guenons live in trees south of Africa’s Congo River. The species was named after the person who first described it for science. They’re rather serious looking but are quite social, and they feed on insects and fruit.
“Little is known about Wolf’s Guenons because of their small population in zoos. In the wild, the dense forests in which they live make them hard to spot,” said Harrison Edell, Sacramento Zoo General Curator. “This birth is significant to the Sacramento Zoo; with every birth, we learn more about this species’ biology, contributing to our overall knowledge about this species.”
In San Francisco, California, the first river otter (in fifty years) is living in the city. The otter has mystified and delighted tourists and conservationists alike, who are piecing together clues to figure out just how he got there…
The otter is nicknamed “Sutro Sam” after the location of where he builds his nest: the old historic baths, which were named after former San Francisco Mayor Adolph Sutro, who built the building, which at the time was an engineering marvel.
“We came here to see the baths and this was just a bonus,” said Eliza Durkin, who brought her son Jonathan to the site for a school project on historic places.
He was first spotted in September and has since settled into the City by the Bay.
River otters once thrived in the San Francisco Bay area, but development, hunting and environmental pollution in the 19th and 20th centuries has taken its toll on the once thriving local population.
The critters are a living barometer of water quality – if it’s bad they cannot thrive. But new populations being seen north and east of San Francisco are giving hope to conservationists that years of environmental regulations and new technologies are making a difference.
“The fact that this otter is in San Francisco and doing so well in other regions of the Bay Area, it’s a good message that there’s hope for the watershed,” said Megan Isadore, director of outreach and education for the River Otter Ecology Project, a group that studies otter populations further north and in the bay.
This aquatic mammal seems to have found the mix of the environment he needs to make a home, to the delight of tourists and local nature lovers.
At the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, the southern sea otters are getting their holiday enrichment: a snowman full of treats for this month’s Holiday Treats for the Animals festivities.
Happy Ottersday and happy holidays ^_^
A very lucky hiker on the north fork of the Mad River, in Humboldt County, California, came across four fishing river otters in the creek next to the trail, and took footage of his rare wildlife encounter. Enoy!
Happy Ottersday! ^_^
According to research done in in San Diego, California, and published online Monday in Current Biology, audio captured from a beluga whale was the whale imitating people. In fact, the whale song sounded so eerily human that divers initially thought it was a human voice.
Handlers at the National Marine Mammal Foundation in San Diego heard mumbling in 1984 coming from a tank containing whales and dolphins that sounded like two people chatting far away. It wasn’t until one day, after a diver surfaced from the tank and asked, “Who told me to get out?” did researchers realize the garble came from a captive male Beluga whale. For several years, they recorded its spontaneous sounds while it was underwater and when it surfaced.
An acoustic analysis revealed the human-like sounds were several octaves lower than typical whale calls. Scientists think the whale’s close proximity to people allowed it to listen to and mimic human conversation. It did so by changing the pressure in its nasal cavities. After four years of copying people, it went back to sounding like a whale, emitting high-pitched noises.
The study is not the first time a whale has sounded human. Scientists who have studied sounds of white whales in the wild sometimes heard what sounded like shouting children. Caretakers at the Vancouver Aquarium in Canada previously said they heard one of the white whales say its name.
It’s late tonight on this week’s edition of Ottersday, so here’s a cool video of sea otters in Moss Landing, California. Let the tranquil sounds of the ocean and the gentle behavior of the raft of sleepy otters lull you to sleep….. zzzzzzzz
Happy Ottersday ^_^
Sea otter advocates smiled this week at the release of the U.S. Geologic Survey’s spring census, which showed a 5.1% boost in individual otters from the 2010 count, a 1.5% increase in the more important three-year average, and the third highest pup tally on record.
The numbers are encouraging for the long struggling species, though conservationists express “cautious” optimism, as too many sea otters were victims of shark attacks, infections, and boat strikes, to consider the sea otter population recovered yet.
“The recovery is still slow, [but] seeing an upward tick is better news than a downward tick,” said Jim Curland, advocacy program director with Friends of the Sea Otter.
Happy Ottersday ^_^