Friday, May 13, 2011

Marine Mammal Thoughts

Yep, when I'm not on the water, I'm thinking about the times I've BEEN on the water, and how soon I can go back again. Lucky for me, I can go to the beach anytime I can pry myself away from the computer. Even if there's too much wind to take out my kayak, I can LOOK at the water.
While looking out the kitchen window at the water this morning (neener neener to those not lucky enough to live in a home with a waterfront view) I turned on CBC Radio One (entertainment and the news for those of us with a minimalist and affordable lifestyle in someone else's waterfront view house). The local news is all abuzz with reports of four dead harbour porpoises that have washed up along the Victoria shoreline during the past week, in Beacon Hill park actually. There have been some eight dead porpoises found this month.
That sounds dreadful. Porpoises are marvelous animals. Sometimes we catch a glimpse of dolphins and porpoises when we're out kayaking, but they don't hang around.
The CBC's morning show had a guest speaker, a biologist who is also active with the Prince of Whales whale-watching company. According to her, the number of dead porpoises found recently is not unusual for this time of year. April through October is the breeding season, and the local population of porpoises goes up to about a thousand. It's not unusual this time of year to find a couple of these animals dead for any of several reasons. These dead porpoises are being tested, but seem to have died from natural causes rather than anything sinister.
Glad to know we don't have to panic about these marine mammal deaths. And on a more cheerful marine mammal note, Bernie found this video of a rehabilitated baby seal being released back into the wild. Inspiring!
As for what to do if you see a baby seal that might be abandoned -- well, we've written on Kayak Yak about what to do, so read about it here. Short form: don't touch any marine mammal. Call DFO. And check out the website for animal rescues on the Island.

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