Manatee hell

I can’t stop watching this video (hat tip Treehugger) – a timelapse produced by conservation photographers Cristina Mittermeier and Neil Ever Osborne.  How much more clearly can the typically solitary manatees say “go away?!”  And how much more intrusive and insensitive can humans be?  (Right… silly question.)  Does the Marine Mammal Protection Act ring a bell, people?  The “stampede” of manatees toward the end of the video was apparently triggered by a loud noise and occurs several times a day, according to coverage on io9.

Other links I want to share before they get old:

  • The answer to the question many of us have asked at one time or another (if you geek out on animal behavior studies and documentaries): yes, satellite tags, cameras, and other tracking devices might alter the “natural” behavior being monitored.
  • The same might go for bird song playback studies.  This is something that has long been debated by birdwatchers, some of whom who wonder – in addition – if playbacks and even “pishing” are unethical.  Pishing involves standing in bird habitat and stage-whispering the word “pish” several times.  The sound is thought to acoustically resemble “the alarm call of a small group of birds mobbing a predator,” and bird watchers (including this one) will occasionally resort to it to draw out a bird for a better view.  But in essence, we’re luring the birds out on a false pretense, and possibly distracting them from more important activities – like feeding, nesting, and avoiding predators.
  • Oil exploration in Virunga National Park, home to 200 of the remaining 700 or so mountain gorillas in the world.  World Wildlife Fund is trying to stop it.

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