LOCAL farmers, amateur birdwatchers and bird researchers have witnessed an unusual and at times disturbing phenomenon recently as huge numbers of snowy owls (Bubo scandiacus) are migrating south from the Arctic and being seen as far south as Missouri. Such are the increasingly large numbers of this majestic owl species that it is being described as a “mass migration”
LESS than 40 years ago the Pacific gray whale was considered to be on the verge of extinction…and so it was.
After years of commercial hunting numbers had been reduced to a level where it was feared that the population was so low that they could not recover.
Comments being made in certain quarters of the Canadian political hierarchy may indicate that there is a creeping realisation that the negative publicity that Canada receives from its adherence to the annual commercial seal hunt is not worth the financial returns obtained from the selling of seal products.
WITH the recent death in January of another Maui’s dolphin by entanglement in static fishing gear cetacean biologists around the globe are resigning themselves to yet another whale species facing extinction within the next few years; joining the recently extinct Yangtze river dolphin and the ranks of other critically endangered marine mammal species like the Vaquita or Gulf of California porpoise.
THERE are few creatures in our natural environment that instil in us such a feeling of wonder and awe than that of the large marine mammals – the great whales – members of that order of mammals known as cetaceans.
Most encounters with these leviathans of the deep ocean occur when, either through illness or accident, they wash up dead or dying on the shores of Ireland only to become a foul smelling amorphous mass providing rich pickings for the birds and beasties that make our intertidal zone home.