Reprints from January 2001 Soundings
Newsletter of the Monterey Bay Chapter of the American Cetacean Society
7th International ACS Conference in Monterey a Great Success
As many of you are aware, the 7th International Conference of the American Cetacean Society took place in Monterey on November 17 - 19, 2000. Almost 300 people from around world attended the conference to immerse themselves in cetacean study and culture, make new friends and contacts and learn the latest news about earth's mightiest creatures.
Many conference participants kicked off the weekend by touring the Elkhorn Slough with Elkhorn Slough Safari, kayaking Monterey Bay with Monterey Bay Kayaks, or whale watching along the coast with Monterey Bay Whale Watch.
The opening night reception in honor of Alan and Sheila Baldrige held at the Monterey Bay Aquarium was well attended and enjoyed by all with many warm stories being recounted about Alan and Sheila, their respective and joint contributions to learning and conservation, and their love of nature, especially birds and cetaceans. In recognition of their significant contributions and the many lives they have touched Alan and Sheila were presented with an elegant Spinner Dolphin sculpture by artist Randy Puckett.
The more than 15 different plenary sessions in categories such as Hot Issues in Whale Conservation, Legislative Issues in Whale Conservation, Advances in Marine Mammal Science and the Future of Whaling and Whale Management featured notable speakers from around the world, including Wil Burns, Phil Clapham, Doland Croll, Roger Gentry, Bill Hess, Michael Jasny, Thomas Jefferson, Jon Lien, Bruce Mate, David Mattila, Charles Moore, Mark Ormas, Steve Palumbi, Brenda Peterson, John Potter, Naomi Rose, Peter Ross, Karen Steuer, Lindy Weilgart, Norbert Wu, and Bernd Würsig. Participants were excited by new data and discoveries, moved by stories of cetacean encounters, and sobered by the substantial work which is ongoing to study, conserve and protect cetacea.
"The conference was a resounding success in a spectacular location. We're already looking forward to the next conference in 2002!" said Katy Penland, President of ACS National. The next conference will be in Seattle, Washington, in 2002 -- check back with the local or national ACS website for dates to mark your calendar.
On November 17, 2000, Monterey Bay Whale Watch's Sea Wolf II captained by Richard Ternullo carried more than 40 ACS Conference attendees out on a beautiful calm blue bay. In addition to observing 1,500 long-beaked common dolphin and approximately 40 humpback whales, the trip culminated with an extraordinary visit with five Orcas (Orcinus orca) preying on California sea lions not far off of Moss Landing. The sea lions themselves were preying on a large school of sardines, and even after temporarily scattering, the sea lions could not resist continuing to feast on the sardines in spite of the danger of becoming a feast themselves. For many on board, including veteran whale watchers, this was the first time they had ever seen Orcas in the wild, much less the active predatory behavior that was witnessed that day. Captain Richard skillfully maneuvered the Sea Wolf II to give passengers the best possible vantage point, including Orcas passing within a few feet of the vessel's bow. Naturalists Nancy Black and Alissa Schulman provided expert narration throughout the journey which enhanced understanding and appreciation for the marine environment and its inhabitants. An unforgettable experience was had by all!
Rare Visitor: Short-Finned Pilot Whale
A recently deceased Short-Finned Pilot Whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) was found on Del Monte Beach on November 8, 2000, by ACS Board Member Katherine Whittaker. The whale was transported to Moss Landing Marine Lab where researchers performed a necropsy in an effort to learn more about the life and death of this beautiful sea creature. The Pilot Whale is a rare visitor in Monterey as its range generally extends from Point Conception to Central America. As Pilot Whales are highly social animals that are rarely found alone, local whale biologists speculated that other members of this whale's family or community group might be sighted in the vicinity; however, no further sightings of Pilots Whales were reported.
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Last updated January 16, 2000.