Wednesday, January 14, 2009
It’s such a heartwarming sight to the guests watching a seal training session. An Aquarium of the Pacific trainer is sitting next to a seal giving the animal a hug while it places one of its flippers on the trainer’s lap. This trained behavior may look cute but it serves an important purpose in caring for our pinnipeds.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
In my over 20 years of being involved with marine mammals I’ve had some memorable moments. One of the most memorable was the day back in the early 1990s when a whale research crew that I was part of helped a Bay Watch Lifeguard rescue an entangled gray whale just offshore of the cliffs of Point Vicente. The following story is about that day.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
While Ellie, our eldest harbor seal who was born and raised in New York carries herself around with a reserved dignity that is reminiscent of the East Coast Socialite that she was named after, Shelby, our other female harbor seal is a definitely an outgoing California Girl.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
For an animal in the ocean, the ability to leap out the water for a short period can enhance its survival, navigation and foraging capabilities. Parker the sea lion is learning how to demonstrate this ability as he is being trained by our staff to porpoise out of the water.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The wonderful benefit about having various program animals around the Aquarium is how much you can learn from them. For instance, before I met one of our new program animals my perception of all porcupines was that of a slow awkward ground dwelling creature that was bristling with sharp needles pointed in all directions that was just waiting to impale your body. Needless to say that I was also sure that porcupines did not possess Positive Thigmotaxis like sea lions and did not like to be touched. Then I met Tito the porcupine.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Have you heard the news? A new resident has moved in to the Aquarium‘s Explorer‘s cove! He’s covered in stiff, sharp spines called quills. He has a big, round, fuzzy nose. He’s an expert climber with the aid of his prehensile tail. Welcome Tito the prehensile-tailed porcupine, the newest addition to the program animal family!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The watershed of Southern California through its rivers, creeks, and washes, feeds wetland areas that support biodiversity within our urban environment. These wetlands help maintain an environmental food chain that runs from the tiniest worm and plant to high end carnivores On a walk through one of these wetlands earlier this year, my wife Pam and I encountered one of these high end carnivores in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine, California.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Thigmotaxis is the scientific term to describe an animal’s need to be in physical contact with another animal. The mammalogist call positive thigmotaxis “Getting Thiggy”. Milo our young California sea lion definitely likes to get Thiggy with his trainers.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wildlife seen on a walk from the mouth of the San Gabriel River between Alamitos Bay and Seal Beach, to where the river turns into a cement storm channel about 4 miles inland.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
An adult blue whale can eat over 4 tons of krill per day and just like you and I after gorging ourselves on our favorite foods, a lot of what enters our body via the mouth, usually exits the body a bit further down.