Jenna: Another week of animals in the media coming your way…
Hannah: I’d like to start off with an article that really tugged at my heart strings this week. While this is not uplifting news, it is equally prevalent and impactful. A sperm whale isolated itself and later died on the Isle of Harris sandbanks in Scotland. The necropsy, an animal’s version of an autopsy, performed on the deceased whale revealed 220 pounds of debris in its stomach. Dominantly containing fish gear and plastic items, the trash was said to have been in the whale for some time.
Jenna: This is, yet again, another example of how our unconscious disposal of trash and usage of single use plastics effects, not only us, but the animals whose habitats are not our own.
Hannah: Unfortunately, so. Though devastating, we can use stories like this as a wake up call to be more aware of the materials we purchase and how we dispose of them. This is where we have to think big picture and understand that using the ocean as our trash can or lacking the effort to prevent it from becoming our trash can contribute to the widespread issues of pollution that is ending the lives of wildlife.
Jenna: I entirely agree. I read that our oceans are suffering from significant oxygen depletion, too. Like trash in the ocean, this is also being caused by humans, specifically from farm pollution that eventually flows into the ocean. According to the article, fertilizer and manure are directly to blame.
Hannah: I was saddened to learn that oxygen depletion in the ocean really impacts larger fish. To get oxygen, the larger fish have to stay near the surface of the ocean. Unfortunately, this puts them more in contact with fishermen.
Jenna: Sounds like a terrible cycle caused by human negligence, if you ask me. It’s worth repeating that simple actions that we take can make a big difference. For example, this blog post from Ocean Society emphasizes recycling properly, participating in cleanups, and avoiding products containing microbeads, to name a few. And for a more hopeful look at what substantive efforts are being undertaken, check out this National Geographic article which spells out initiatives being taken by San Diego to ban food and drink styrofoam containers as well by Canada to ban single use plastics by 2021.
Hannah: That’s awesome. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the bad news, so I’m glad we can offer some tangible ways to prevent these problems. On a more light-hearted note, did you hear about Burton the squirrel? Have A Banana Trading Co., a food vendor selling nuts, was experiencing squirrel burglary. At the center of the scandal was Burton the squirrel, as he was lovingly named. Burton now has his own nut supply from the vendor to keep him happy.
Jenna: How cute! The pictures are definitely worth looking at. Have a wonderful week, animal fans.
This week’s animal news:
Tame foxes taught us about animal domestication. But did we get the story wrong? from National Geographic
Sight of polar bear daubed with graffiti sparks outrage from The Guardian
Breaking! Sperm Whale Found Dead In Scotland With 220 Pounds Of Trash In Its Stomach from World Animal News
Breaking! U.S. Federal Court Issues Preliminary Injunction Of Iowa’s New Ag-Gag Law from World Animal News
Devil worm genes hold clues for how some animals survive extreme heat from Science News
Oceans losing oxygen at unprecedented rate, experts warn from The Guardian
Fishes, Sentience, And The Law from Faunalytics
Pushy Squirrel Forces Nut Seller To ‘Pay’ Him Off from The Dodo
Are you a cat whisperer? A few special people can read feline expressions. from National Geographic
Killer whale grandmothers boost survival of calves from ScienceDaily
7 Ways To Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution Today from Oceanic Society
A running list of action on plastic pollution from National Geographic
Thank you to John Delconte for continuing to send us articles! If you see anything you want us to include in Creature Feature News, please send it our way firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash