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David @ Tokyo

Perspective from Japan on whaling and whale meat, a spot of gourmet news, and monthly updates of whale meat stockpile statistics



Assortment of stuff

Here's a big old jumble of various stuff that I found recently in the past few days.

* * *
One about animals teaching animals:
Meerkats actively teach their young how to catch and eat their prey, British researchers said in a study that is one of the first to prove that animals show such complex behaviour.
Older meerkats will bite the stinger off a live scorpion and give it to a youngster to kill and eat, and if the pup fails to do the job before the prey can crawl away, will nudge it back

I'm not that surprised about this - humans are animals and we teach our young "survival techniques", so why wouldn't other species?

* * *

In whaling related news, Humane Society International won a court battle to overturn a previous decision (whic I wrote about last year) allowing them to sue Kyodo Senpaku for catching whales in an area that Australia regards as it's own territory. What does it mean? Nothing really, although it could be amusing if the Australian Government is somehow forced into attacking the whaling research fleet if it is told it must uphold it's laws! :-)
HSI won't be too popular in Canberra.

UPDATE: Aussie Environment minister Ian Campbell agrees that this doesn't mean anything, noting how he thinks whaling could be stopped:
"We obviously have to turn those numbers around by aggressively recruiting pro-conservation nations to join the IWC and trying to swing votes in the IWC towards the conservation cause"
Politicking may be a hobby for Ian Campbell, but the reality is that whaling is on the increase, and that's not going to change even if he threatens / encourages other nations to vote the way he says to at the IWC.
And as always, how embarassing is it for Australia that their Environment minister thinks blanket protections for certain species is "conservation"?

* * *

Also as I've written a squillion times before, the humpback population on the east coast of Australia is booming at 10% each year. Yet another confirmation.
Dan Burns believes there was an annual migration of about 7,500 to 8,000 humpback whales off the east coast, which was increasing annually by about 10 per cent.
"This is continuing the trend of steady recovery of the humpback population, but we are still a long way from pre-whaling numbers (of about 30,000)."
Right Mr. Burns - and how many years will it take for the population to recover to that size from it's current levels? Pull out your calculators folks! 7,500 multiplied by 1.10% is how many whales? And how many years do you need to do this calculation before you start hitting 20,000 ~ 30,000? It's great news for whale conservation, but terrible news for people who believe whales should be protected. Whales being abundant makes it much harder to make a scientific case for protection.

I've got some more comments on this over here.

* * *

And here is an article about the slow whaling season in Norway this year.

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