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Beached Whale Free After Calf Seen Nudging Her

Both make it back to deeper waters

(Newser) - Workers in Australia's Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services were saved some work Wednesday morning, and they've apparently got a young humpback whale to thank. Responding to help an adult whale beached on a sandbar, the workers found that she had managed to free herself before they got there.... More »

Scientists Might've Accidentally Killed an Endangered Orca

Tracking dart possibly led to fungal infection

(Newser) - Scientists hoping to protect endangered orcas might have inadvertently killed one instead. A killer whale tagged by NOAA researchers in Washington state in February turned up dead in British Columbia five weeks later, reports the CBC . On Wednesday, US researchers released a report suggesting the 20-year-old whale, known as L95,... More »

Clever Seal Goes to Desperate Lengths to Dodge Killer Whales

'Most intense epic experience ever': boat owner

(Newser) - Seals are cute, curious, and apparently quite resourceful when they're trying to avoid becoming someone's dinner, per a story out of British Columbia. The CBC reports on the adventures of a survival-minded seal who, desperately trying to escape the clutches of the ravenous orcas pursuing it, hopped aboard... More »

Whale as Old as the Titanic Spotted in the Pacific

'Granny' spotted leaping near the coast of Washington

(Newser) - Whale watchers off the coast of Washington saw a welcome sight last week—a killer whale nicknamed "Granny" who is believed to be an astonishing 105 years old, reports the San Francisco Chronicle . Granny's more formal name among scientists who have studied her for decades is J2, and... More »

Humpbacks Save Other Animals From Orcas

The 'why' part is unclear

(Newser) - Whale researchers say they've collected enough evidence to make a remarkable assertion: Humpback whales deliberately save other creatures from killer whales. The scientists collected 115 accounts between 1951 and 2012, they write in Marine Mammal Science . Maine ecologist Robert Pitman got the idea for the survey after seeing an... More »

There's a New Whale Species, and It's a Big One

24-foot 'raven' beaked whale found in Alaskan waters led to discovery of new species

(Newser) - When a 24-foot whale carcass washed up on the beach of a remote Alaskan island in 2014, a researcher was pretty sure it was a dark version of a Baird's beaked whale, National Geographic reports. But per a new study published in Marine Mammal Science , it was an entirely... More »

Whales Grieve for Their Young Like Human Parents

'They know something is wrong': study co-author

(Newser) - Whales are known for their intelligence —and now they may become known for their emotions and parental instincts, too. A study in the Journal of Mammalogy has found that at least seven species of toothed whales—including killer, sperm, and short-finned pilot whales, as well as four dolphin varieties—... More »

Lucky Couple Finds Precious Lump of Smelly Whale Vomit

It could get them more than $70K

(Newser) - Good fortune has never smelled so bad. The Mirror reports Gary and Angela Williams found a lump of "floating gold"—more accurately described as whale vomit—Sunday while walking on a British beach. It wasn't too hard to find the ambergris, which is both rare and valuable;... More »

Scientists Answer Weird Question About Moby Dick

Yes, sperm whales could batter a ship with their heads

(Newser) - A multinational team of researchers set out to settle what has oddly been a longstanding dispute in scientific circles: whether, in Moby Dick-esque fashion, sperm whales could use their heads to bash seagoing vessels. And it seems that Herman Melville got it right. Writing in the journal PeerJ , researchers concluded... More »

Japan Kills 333 Whales in the Name of 'Science'

Many of the females were pregnant

(Newser) - Japanese whalers sailed to the Antarctic in December with the goal of killing 333 minke whales . Discover reports they returned Thursday having met that goal. Japan signed on to an international moratorium banning whale hunting in 1986 but has since been taking advantage of a loophole that allows killing whales... More »

Teen Bullied as 'Fat Whale' Now Raising Cash for Whales

'I can take someone's hate and use it to spread love': 16-year-old Dee McMillan

(Newser) - When Dannie "Dee" McMillan first started noticing odd looks and snickers in the hallways of her Texas high school, she wasn't sure what was going on, the New York Daily News reports. But the 16-year-old's friends soon started sending her screenshots of a Twitter page that horrified... More »

'White Whale' Discovered in Depths of the Smithsonian

Old fossil has been redescribed as the Albicetus oxymycterus

(Newser) - It's quite the epic timeline: Some 15 million years ago, the creature swam in our oceans. In the 1880s, its remains were found in California. In 1925, Remington Kellogg classified it in an extinct genus of walrus. Now, nine decades later, researchers with the Smithsonian's National Museum of... More »

Baby Whale Killers May Have Come From the Sky

It might be from 'gull harassment,' scientists say

(Newser) - Scientists have been scratching their heads over hundreds of baby whales that perished off the coast of Argentina between 2013 and 2014, but a new study points the finger at a possible cause, or at least a contributing factor: pesky seagulls, Live Science reports. The study published in PLoS One ... More »

Japan to Begin 3-Month Antarctic Whale Hunt

Critics say whales don't need to be killed for conservation research

(Newser) - Japan is wasting little time in resuming its "scientific" whale hunte : Its whaling fleet will leave Tuesday for the Antarctic for a three-month, scaled-down hunt, the government says, despite protests. Monday's announcement comes days after Japan submitted its final plan to the International Whaling Commission after the... More »

As Big Mammals Die Off, Planet Suffers a Poop Shortage

The flow of phosphorous and other nutrients has declined dramatically

(Newser) - Earth isn't just dealing with the loss of big mammals, such as elephants, whales, and rhinos. It's also faced with a dramatic reduction in their poop, which could have profound effects on the planet's ecosystems, reports Red Orbit . Researchers report in the Proceedings of the National Academy ... More »

This Photo Just Made Scientists' Entire Week

6th orca calf born since December spotted off San Juan Island

(Newser) - Scientists are celebrating after a days-old orca calf was spotted off the west coast of Washington state's San Juan Island on Saturday. The calf was born into one of three pods of Southern Resident orca whales, known as "J Pod," which happens to have the best record... More »

SeaWorld Has Just Been Dealt a Killer Blow

Commission says San Diego park can no longer breed killer whales

(Newser) - SeaWorld San Diego's top attraction may be on its last legs, er, fins. In approving a $100 million project that will see a larger holding facility for the park's orcas, the California Coastal Commission imposed some conditions: bans on captive whale breeding and bringing in wild-caught orcas—changes... More »

Whales Return to Long Island Sound After 2 Decades

Boaters are snapping pics of humpbacks and belugas, but NOAA issues warning

(Newser) - It's been more than 20 years since whales were spotted in the Long Island Sound—and even longer since the last humpback was spied—but that streak was broken this summer in what one maritime expert is calling "the year of the whale," the Hour reports. Boaters... More »

Navy Cuts Deal to Save Whales

Sonar use to be limited off Hawaii, California

(Newser) - The Navy agreed to limit its use of sonar and other training that inadvertently harms whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals off Hawaii and California in a settlement with environmental groups approved yesterday. The agreement signed by a federal judge in Honolulu includes limits or bans on mid-frequency active sonar... More »

Dozens of Whales Are Mysteriously Dying in Alaska

NOAA will investigate 30 deaths since May

(Newser) - Some 30 large whales have been found dead in the western Gulf of Alaska since May and the NOAA wants to know why. The agency says it is opening a scientific investigation into what is calls an "unusual mortality event," with the number of whale deaths at three... More »

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