I am very sorry to announce that Sif’s newborn male calf has died. He failed to nurse, and passed away on July 17th
Rest in peace, little one.
Welcome to the world, little one.
Yesterday, Sif the harbor porpoise at Fjord&Baelt gave birth to a little healthy male calf. It is reported that both are doing well, and that the baby is extremely curious and is exploring his surroundings.
There is one challenge he faces, however. The baby is so focused on this new world that he has yet to nurse from his mother. Trainers are positive though since the little boy is so strong and energetic.
- Dall’s porpoises have been extensively exploited over the years and remain one of the main species hunted by Japanese fishermen with catch rates reaching as high as 40,000 individuals a year.
- The Dall’s porpoise is the largest species of porpoise and has a robust compact body. It has a relatively small head with a short beak with an upturned mouthline and a rather flat forehead. The forward-leaning, triangular dorsal fin has a broad base and may have a hooked tip.
- The Dall’s porpoise has an extremely ‘un-porpoise-like’ behaviour. Most members of this Family are quiet and shy, preferring to avoid boats while the Dall’s porpoise actively seeks out large fast moving vessels.
- The Dall’s porpoise is the fastest swimming small cetacean, and in short bursts can reach speeds of up to 55 km/h, surfacing rapidly producing a distinctive spray of water called a ‘rooster tail’. They are eager bow-riders but will not stay long with boats moving slower than 20 km/h. While it is a very active swimmer it rarely breaches or engages in other forms of acrobatic display.
- Often found to associate with Pacific white-sided dolphins and long-finned pilot whales, Dall’s porpoises are predominantly an oceanic species however they can be found in more coastal waters where deep water is closer to the shore.
- The greatest threat to this species is undoubtedly the directed hunts undertaken by the Japanese, whilst other threats include bycatch and chemical pollution. Dall’s porpoises are reported to have been found with high levels of organochlorines and this may affect reproduction. The IUCN Red List classifies this species as of Least Concern.
Dolphin attacks on Cardigan Bay porpoises baffle experts
Dolphin attacks on porpoises in Cardigan Bay have left marine scientists scratching their heads.
Three our of four attacks by bottlenose dolphins noted in recent weeks by volunteers from New Quay-based Cardigan Bay Marine Wildlife Centre were fatal.
Science officer Sarah Perry said such attacks are not unknown but it was rare to see it happening in Cardigan Bay.
The centre suggested the attacks may be over competition for food or the result of dolphin mating behaviour.
It said scientists have always known that dolphins attack porpoises but the frequency of recent attacks is a real puzzle.
Good News: Harbor Porpoises’ Remarkable Return
After a 65-year absence, harbor porpoises are back in San Francisco Bay, providing scientists a unique view into their lives
by Anne Bolen
ON A BLUSTERY CALIFORNIA AUGUST DAY, researchers are studying some of San Francisco’s least-known residents from an unlikely laboratory: the Golden Gate Bridge. Below in the bay glides a parade of boats—fishing vessels, a tall ship, a slow container barge packed with colorful boxes like giant Legos.
Behind the scientists, tourists pause to snap pictures, unaware of the ongoing hunt. Through binoculars, Bill Keener suddenly spots his quarry: a harbor porpoise, its dark gray dorsal fin appearing briefly before resubmerging. Keener predicts the porpoise’s course and, just as it surfaces again, photographs the animal before it disappears. “Got it,” he declares triumphantly.
This harbor porpoise is one of more than 600 that Keener and the three other marine mammal scientists of Golden Gate Cetacean Research have recorded in the San Francisco Bay since 2008. This team, made up of Keener, Isidore Szczepaniak, Jonathan Stern and Marc Webber, is compiling the world’s first photo catalog of wild harbor porpoises…
(read more: National Wildlife)
photos: Golden Gate Cetacean Research
Bow riding might not be always carefree fun for Dall’s porpoises.
Recently NGOS (an orca research organization based in Alaska) had a large group of porpoises racing alongside their vessel. They were quite physical and aggressive, with the largest porpoises body slamming others to get the best spot for the pressure wave generated by the hull. The researchers were surprised by how intense the porpoises were.
Upon later inspection of the photos, it was noted that they were all males and had their penises extended. This appeared to be a battle of dominance between males, perhaps brought on by the stimulation of the boat and the involvement of several groups of porpoises.
A female finless porpoise was born on July 3rd at the Toba Aquarium to Marine and Hacchi.
Sif is very close to giving birth!
The pregnant harbor porpoise at Fjord&Bælt is now under 24 hour baby watch and is in her own special sea pen. Vets estimate that the calf will arrive within the next 2 weeks.
Harbour Porpoise (by Joel N Walley)