whale

Makah Indian Tribe Wants To Hunt Whales Again

Mar 6, 2015
NAParish / Flickr

Washington's Makah Indian tribe wants to resume its traditional practice of whale hunting.

The first step in winning federal approval came Friday, when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries issued a draft environmental impact statement analyzing the tribe's request.

The Makah tribe drew international criticism from animal rights groups in 1999 when it hunted a gray whale off Washington's Olympic Peninsula. It was the tribe's first whale hunt in more than 70 years.

Christian Benseler / Flickr

SeaWorld is famous for its choreographed dolphin and Orca whale performances. Now a Washington state lawmaker wants to make sure what happens at SeaWorld stays at SeaWorld. He introduced legislation to prohibit marine mammal shows in Washington.

Washington state Senator Kevin Ranker remembers visiting SeaWorld San Diego several years ago.

“It was a very powerful experience for me and not a positive one,” Ranker said.

Erin Falcone Cascadia Research under NOAA permit 16111

Think about how long you can hold your breath and then let this discovery blow your mind. Northwest-based whale researchers have documented a new breath-hold record among mammals. They timed a dive by a beaked whale that lasted 2 hours and 17 minutes.

Nilfanion / Wikimedia Commons

The Blue whale is believed to be the largest animal ever to exist. But nobody remembers number two. Fin whales are the second largest animals on the planet, weighing in at around 80 tons. And they’re very mysterious creatures. Now scientists have gained better access to the giant whale’s secret lives – almost accidentally.

Photo credit: Wikimedia user Kalev Kevad / Wikimedia Commons

Officials have launched an investigation into the death of a young female orca from a pod of the endangered marine mammals in Puget Sound. The orca washed up near Washington’s Long Beach in February. The cause of her death is controversial.

Photo courtesy of US Navy 2008

Right now the Navy is allowed to use sonar for testing and training exercises off the Northwest coast and down to Northern California. There is evidence that using sonar may interfere with marine mammal behavior – and even damage hearing and cause stranding. But the Navy’s use of sonar could change if it doesn’t get its permits renewed by 2015.

Photo by Richard Dudley / Flickr

This week, federal biologists will cast off on a research cruise from NOAA's new home port in Newport, Oregon. They hope to crack an enduring mystery about some of the most studied killer whales on earth. Namely, where do the Northwest's resident orca whales go in the winter? Correspondent Tom Banse has more.