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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Silent videos of remarkable marine life

Working in the marine conservation world in Canada these days can be very discouraging, you get up, go to work, spend your days in the office (if you don't work in the field), and go home with the hope that something you did made a difference. It can be easy to forget sometimes why you do what you do, unless you spend time watching the natural world.

Every single day there are amazing things happening in, around and under the ocean, even as we sort out our recycling and try to decide what to make for dinner. Here are a few examples in my favorite medium: silent film.

Even as you were lying in bed this morning, contemplating the pros and cons of hitting the snooze button again, thousands of rhinoceros auklets were flying home with beaks full of pacific sand lance to feed to their chicks who will soon fledge. Some of these birds make an 80 km round trip in a night to find food in the rich waters around the Scott Islands and other colonies along the coast. This is their story:

While you were commuting to work or school in the din of rush hour traffic, a massive North Pacific Right Whale was swimming through the lumpy waters of the open ocean, hundreds of kilometers from anywhere or anyone. One of these whales was spotted this June for the first time in Canadian waters in over 60 years - the last time one was reported here, it was brought ashore as a victim of the dwindling whaling industry. Now it is estimated that there are only 40-50 of these once abundant whales left in the North-East Pacific. Here is footage of this once-in-a-lifetime sighting:

And finally, while you sit here reeding this, somewhere in the depths of the Pacific a whole community of animals are feeding on a dead Grey Whale that has sunk to the bottom. The unfortunate whale now provides a huge boon for all sorts of deep-sea creatures, from the regal Pacific Sleeper Shark to the lowly hagfish. This video documents their gargantuan feast over the course of a year and a half. Long-time WB readers my recognize this video from previous posts (I make no promises that you will not see it featured here again):

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