NOAA scientists Kim Parsons & Tom Jefferson on orca species, orca survival, orca scat, really old whales, the return of harbour porpoises, the fight for vaquitas and so much more in the second part of a special two-part episode on the two soon-to-be official species of orcas who call the Salish Sea home.

Shownotes:

2:29 The challenge of naming new animals… scientific names, the names we use and the politics of naming. Yes, we’re sticking with Residents & Bigg’s.

5:15 How many orca species are there? The challenges of collecting data.

7:01 The genetic challenges facing the southern resident orcas.

10:09 Not enough J-pod baby-daddies.

12:32 “I think we need some optimism here…” a happy story about harbour porpoises. “There may be hope for this species after all. We know what the problems are… if we can make enough compromises in our own behaviour to reduce those threats, I think there’s good reason for being optimistic that the future of southern resident killer whales can still look quite bright.”

14:50 Biological and chronological ages.

19:30 The latest on the vanishing vaquitas – the most endangered marine mammal in the world. Are there only 10 left? “As long as there’s one male and one female left in the population there’s a chance for them to survive.”

23:20 Talking poop about orcas. And orca poop. “I spent a lot of time working with killer whale poop… I’ve collected a lot of poop in my time.”

24:55 Is there another orca species in Alaska? Probably! How many species are there? “We may be looking at six or maybe eight species… maybe more.”

26:58 Improvements in understanding orca health and their environments.

Skaana podcasts connect you to news and experts and their discussions about environments, oceans, and orcas.
Kim Parsons from NOAA.
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NOAA scientists Kim Parsons & Tom Jefferson on killer whale science, killer whales versus orcas, orcas versus dolphins, how science becomes official, the challenges of translating science to civilians and so much more in the first of a special two-part episode on the two soon to be official species of orcas who call the Salish Sea home.

Shownotes:

3:45 Meet marine mammal biologist, Tom Jefferson.

4:21 Meet molecular geneticist, Kim Parsons.

5:10 Orcas or killer whales? And how to pronounce orcinus orca.

6:35 Orcas vs. whales/dolphins vs. Delphinidae and confusion over “common names.”

10:35 Talking taxonomy: splitting orca populations into two species.

12:55 Exploring orca genetics.

17:38 What’s in a name? Taxonomists reviewing splitting up species. And making the species designation official. Ish.

20:10 How to tell the difference between types of orcas.

24:31 Early observations of killer whales and how and why they got their names.

26:16 Naming the two orcas – the scientific names and the names we’ll all use…

Skaana podcasts connect you to news and experts and their discussions about environments, oceans, and orcas.
Tom Jefferson from NOAA.
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Eco-pirate Paul Watson talks about taking on whalers in Iceland and Japan, splitting with the Sea Shepherd, launching an eco-church and what the hell just happened in his world with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young (author of Sharks Forever & Orcas Everywhere). “We’re ecologically ignorant. And unless we learn to educate ourselves, we’re not going to survive.”

Shownotes:

4:45 Paul Watson on how he landed in Paris and why he’s only working with Sea Shepherd France & Brazil.

5:40  “They said I was too controversial. Too confrontational.”

9:20 On being an international fugitive. And the disappearance of his Interpol Red Notice.

19:00 “We’ll rebuild it.” On the split with Sea Shepherd Global, his new boat and the dangers of sponsors.

21:40 On radically retiring Sea Shepherd vessels.

22:18 “The three most valuable things – courage and imagination and passion.”

22:30 What’s in a name? Neptune’s Pirates, Neptune’s Navy and The Captain Paul Watson Foundation

23:43 Taking action in Iceland and saving whales by taking on “modern Ahab” Kristján Loftsson. “I’m not really concerned about getting arrested.” Why he’d like to be arrested in Iceland.

28:14 Chasing super-trawlers and the importance of saving krill.

30:30 The return of Japanese whalers – with a new factory ship. And preparing to take on a faster ship.

33:45 Shifting baselines and rebranding fish like pollock becoming artificial crab. “Who wants to buy a toothfish… It all comes down to marketing.”

35:10 “We’re overfishing the ocean.” The need for a 75 year moratorium on mechanized fishing.

35:40 The fight for phytoplankton. “If phytoplankton disappear from the ocean, we die… The ocean dies, we die.”

37:15 “We’re ecologically ignorant. And unless we learn to educate ourselves, we’re not going to survive.”

38:20 Founding the Church of Biocentrism and the dangers of anthropocentrism.

45:30 “We can’t have a viewpoint that it was all created for us and we’re the only species that matters.”

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Captain Paul Watson in his natural habitat!
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Author, broadcaster and activist Melody Horrill (The Dolphin Who Saved Me) talks about saving the Port River dolphins and how a dolphin named Jock saved her with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young (author of Sharks Forever & Orcas Everywhere). “Dolphins do have a special place in our hearts… They help us connect to the water and the natural world.”

Shownotes:

5:10 Meet the Port River dolphins. And find out why they’re in trouble.

10:20 “I made it my single-minded mission to let everyone know in South Australia that these dolphins existed. They’re here.”

11:10 “They do have a special place in our hearts… They help us connect I think to the water and the natural world.”

11:50 On the Port River becoming a dolphin sanctuary and how her documentary helped change minds and laws.

15:23 Is the sanctuary really dolphin-friendly?

15:46 The first time she saw a dolphin.

16:51 Meeting Jock.

19:35 “Little did I know at that time that Jock would end up being my best friend. And lead me out of a place that I didn’t think was possible. Immediately I just felt this connection to this solitary dolphin. He was by himself… he just seemed adrift and alone. So from my perspective it was this instant recognition of another being that I felt compassion for and a connection with.”

22:20 “He accepted me in a way that I’d never been accepted in my life before.”

24:20 “He taught me a lot about forgiveness.”

25:07 “He forced me to live in the moment… we’re not feeding him, we’re not enticing him. There’s no other reason for him to hang out with me other than he just wants to. How mind-blowing is that?… It made me realize love was possible.”

26:00 Helping Jock meet and interact with other dolphins. “He taught me about courage.”

29:59 “We really tried to keep his friendliness quiet.” Jock following her boat.

32:34 Connecting with Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute.

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Melody Horrill with the perfect beach book!
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Author and marine conservation biologist David Shiffman (Why Sharks Matter) talks about Sharkweek, Sharknados, megalodon myths, Jaws and junk science with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young (author of Sharks Forever & Big Sharks, Small World). “More people are bitten by other people on the New York city subway system every year than are bitten by sharks in the whole world… but whenever any shark gives someone side eye anywhere in the world, it’s headline news everywhere in the world.”

Shownotes:

4:10 “Jaws has had a really transformative impact. For sharks mostly bad.” How Jaws changed everything for sharks and meeting Richard Dreyfuss. “The movie is just so good.”

5:05 “It’s really changed the world. Before Jaws came out most people really didn’t think about sharks at all.”

5:56 “Spielberg has a lot to answer for here.”

6:23 The Jaws Effect. “It refers to how fictional portrayals of a real world issue can affect how people really think about that issue. In reality.”

7:36 Watching The Shark is Broken – the Jaws play – on Broadway!

10:14 On the impact of Sharknado! “I love those goofy, bad shark movies… there are two kinds of shark movies – there are bad shark movies and there’s Jaws.” And how Sharknado funded his PhD work.

13:18 “It’s just frigging weird how much this goofy Saturday night basic cable movie has escaped its cage and entered the cultural zeitgeist.”

13:44 “Here’s a crazy story for you…” How Sharknado may have launched Donald Trump’s political career.

16:04 On being Sharkweek’s number one critic “I’m very critical of the dumpster fire of nonsense and lies that they show every year.”

17:33 “I could rant about how bad Sharkweek is… forever.” And how Sharkweek does nothing to help sharks. “Sharkweek and I are not besties.”

17:48 There are more dudes named Mike on Sharkweek than there are women… even though in real life 60% of shark experts are women.

19:37 Great white sharks are mentioned in 40% of newspaper stories about endangered sharks – even though they’re not one of the most endangered species… All anyone wants to talk or write about… great white sharks.

21:00 Getting people to care about the bigger picture…”One thing that does change people’s minds is “yes, and…””

25:44 Talking 24 and sharks. “All of the species of sharks in the world combined have killed a lot fewer people than Jack Bauer has killed on-screen. Not even counting his off-screen exploits.”

26:34 “More people are bitten by other people on the New York city subway system every year than are bitten by sharks in the whole world… but whenever any shark gives someone side eye anywhere in the world, it’s headline news everywhere in the world.”

27:46 “Seeing a shark swimming close to the beach is not news. That’s where they’re supposed to be.”

28:00 A toy story – myth busting a fake goblin shark.

31:18 The megalodon conspiracy! “They were very cool – but they’ve been extinct for millions of years.”

33:38 The importance of public science engagement.

34:54 A new treaty that may help save sharks – and other species.

Skaana podcasts connect you to news and experts and their discussions about environments, oceans, and orcas.
David Shiffman and friends…
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Filmmaker Gloria Pancrazi (Coextinction) talks with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young about red herrings, fishy fish farms, whale watching, whale saving and Coextinction. “Orcas are telling us something. They’re showing us something. You can learn a lot about the things we’ve got to do in the world right now by looking at these orcas.”

Shownotes:

3:35 Meet Gloria Pancrazi and how the story of love for orcas turned into a mission to save the southern resident orcas.

6:12 “A lot of politicians like to blame whale watchers because then they can accept a pipeline that’s going to increase tanker traffic by seven- fold… you can go on and on about the impact of the Trans Mountain pipeline and how it’s going to impact southern resident orcas.”

8:38 “One of the biggest points of the movie is that everything is connected… it’s hard to pick one big issue.”

11:50 “It always fascinated us how the orcas are telling us something. They’s showing us something. You can learn a lot about the things we’ve got to do in the world right now by looking at these orcas.”

13:18 “They are each other’s home and we’re destroying that home.”

13:38 The first time she saw a whale:

15:35 Working for Cetus’s Straitwatch program in Canada and SoundWatch in the US and the challenges of keeping orcas safe from small boats.

22:04 Visiting OrcaLab. “It’s magical up there.”

25:28 The impacts of colonization and colonial trauma.

27:50 Where and how to see Coextinction.

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Jason Colby (author of Orca: How We Came to Know and Love the Ocean’s Greatest Predator) talks with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young about the capture of Toki/Tokitae/Lolita/Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut and how Penn Cove almost ended the southern resident orcas and was the beginning of the end of the capture era. “It’s worth remembering that the argument at the time, if there could have been a debate at the time, it was really between whale catching and whale shooting, not whale catching and whale watching.”

Shownotes:

0:00 The voice of Toki.

4:08 Jason Colby on writing the book – or at least a very long chapter of his book – on Penn Cove.

6:05 “They eventually capture virtually all of these orcas behind nets. They estimate at the time around 90 individuals… The estimates vary but almost certainly the entire population of the Southern residents.”

7:43 “It’s worth remembering that the argument at the time, if there could have been a debate at the time, it was really between whale catching and whale shooting, not whale catching and whale watching.”

8:50 “Once they rounded them up, 90 to 100 animals, if Ted Griffin and his company would have wanted to and would have had the market to sell all 90 of them they could have done that. If they had wanted to shoot them all in the nets, they could have done that. There may have been a firearms violation, but there would be no sort of conservation law violation.”

10:30 “This must have been horrifically traumatic for these pods to be torn apart.”

11:20 How activists trying to free the orcas accidentally kill four baby orcas.

12:20 Hiding the bodies… “Whether it was illegal or not, it looks like a murder scene.”

14:20 Is Toki really L Pod or did she learn how to speak L Pod from Hugo in Miami?

20:04 “It was a generational loss.”

21:20 “If Griffin had done what the fisherman who was helping him demanded – which is to sell all of them all – you could have seen the entire population of Southern residents extinguished before we had even identified them scientifically as a population.”

23:00 How to help orcas today and the problems humans are creating for orcas today.

26:04 Toki talks.

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Jason Colby from Mark Leiren-Young’s award-winning documentary The Hundred Year-Old Whale
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Howard Garrett (Orca Network) remembering the southern resident orca Toki/Tokitae/Lolita/Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut and his nearly thirty year fight to bring Toki home to the Salish Sea. “Toki’s legacy is building, building, building by the day… She wasn’t just a circus animal. She was a member of the southern residents.”

Shownotes:

0:00 The voice of Toki.
4:57 How Howard started fighting to bring Toki home

7:50 “I really feel like she would have thrived and been thrilled and so relieved to be in her familiar waters.”

14:16 A superpod wake for Toki?

15:55 The Lummi Nation’s fight for Toki.

20:05  The origins of Toki’s names and becoming Sk’aliCh’elh-tenaut.

21:44 “Her tank violated the very dismal standard of the animal welfare act…”

30:15 Getting the news that she was gone.

34:00 Toki’s legacy.

43:00 Toki speaks.

Skaana podcasts connect you to news and experts and their discussions about environments, oceans, and orcas.
Howard Garrett at a marine conference in Vancouver in 2017
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Author and biologist Rowena Rae on swimming with salmon, threats to this essential species and their incredible resilience with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young. “Salmon can thrive if we just give them a chance… if people would just get out of the way, they can thrive”.

Shownotes:

3:54 On becoming a biologist and leaving biology for writing.
7:12 Introducing young readers to the story of Rachel Carson.

9:20 Introducing Rachel Carson and the importance of Silent Spring.

12:20 Swimming with salmon.

14:07 Keystone species and why they matter.

19:oo  Humans Vs. Salmon; almost everything eats salmon  — salmon as “eco-system engineers”.

23:44 How to save Chinook salmon.

26:09 The fish farm jail-break in Washington State.

28:50 On the resilience of nature and salmon, and why to have hope. “They’re tenacious, they hang on … salmon can thrive if we just give them a chance”.

31:30 How we can help salmon.

Skaana podcasts connect you to news and experts and their discussions about environments, oceans, and orcas.

Rowena Rae – author of Salmon: Swimming for Survival

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Shark expert Alessandro De Maddalena talks with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young about hunting for the perfect shark photo, the two orcas who are hunting great white sharks in South African waters, what makes great whites great and so much more! “The reason I love sharks is that they are a perfect art form. I consider Mother Nature the greatest artist.”

Shownotes:

4:22 How Alessandro De Maddalena fell for sharks as a kid and why sharks are cooler than dinosaurs.
9:00 Why he thinks the great white is great: “the first time I was watching a great white underwater it was magic… The reason I love sharks is that they are a perfect art form. I consider Mother Nature the greatest artist.”
13:10 Perfect predators and perfect book titles.
17:01 How little sharks care about humans. “Sharks care very little about humans. In most cases they don’t care at all.”
21:40 “The fear was born with Jaws…”
27:50 “People like to be afraid. People like monsters. People also like to create monsters.”
28:44 Leading Great White Shark expeditions.
33:40 His three best moments with sharks.
37:15 The truth behind the orcas attacking sharks in South Africa. No they are not a major threat to the great white shark population!
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Alessandro De Maddalena

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Alessandro De Maddalena image – featured in Mark Leiren-Young’s book Sharks Forever

Sean Holman @Seanholman founder and lead of the Climate Disaster Project @cdp_community talks with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young @leirenyoung about the past and future of the media’s climate coverage, fighting fires with facts and sharing stories to save the future.

Shownotes:

5:00 Welcome Sean Holman. Why he challenged journalists to do better in their climate coverage.
10:57 The challenge of news cycles moving faster than science
15:10 “There is a lot that we can individually do about combat climate change creating collective action around that. as an example In the United States if everyone switched from eating beef to beans the United States would have actually met the greenhouse gas targets that were set by Obama.”
16:34 ““Almost all of us are climate disaster survivors in one way shape or form but many of us are also perpetrators of climate change as well in our individual lives.”
17:01 Climate impact on the oceans.
21:53 Climate impact on the economy
23:44 How the smoke from the 2017 BC Wildfire season changed the way he saw the world
26:40 The origins of the Climate Disaster Project and the importance of creating community
29:33 What gives Sean Holman hope
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Sean Holman

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Photo via the BC Wildfire Service.

Jonathan Mesulam @MesulamJonathan Founder and Coordinator of the West Coast Development Foundation in New Guinea talks with Skaana host Mark Leiren-Young @leirenyoung about the crucial fight to stop Deep Sea Mining in his home – New Guinea – and around the world.

Shownotes:

5:00 Welcome to Jonathan Mesulam
10:00 The importance of the church in fighting sea bed mining in New Guinea
12:20 Calling out Canada for allowing Canadian companies to mine in the waters off other countries
14:49 “No one knows the risk.”
16:23 On displacing communities. “If the sea is destroyed where are people going to get food?”
21:40 On leaving teaching to fight for the oceans.
25:12 “This fight is not really about us, it’s about everyone.”
27:00 All the places the sign we carried has traveled.
28:32 What he’d like Canadians to do. “We’re looking at the Pacific Ocean and it’s connecting you and me.Any activity on the Pacific Ocean is going to affect your coastline as well. The sea has no boundary… Canadians really need to speak up… Canadians should say no to sea bed mining… This project is a Canadian initiation.”
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