There was a time when Blue whales were hunted almost to extinction. That changed in 1966 when protective laws were enacted to save the blues, the largest animal on earth. Now there’s a new development, and it’s a good one. A huge Blue whale colony has been discovered in Sri Lanka.
Last year I scouted Sri Lanka for the fifth time in order to set up diving and photography operations - my first exploration there was in 1982. I was amazed at what I saw. I have been waiting all this time for the moment of peace and freedom. I’m very glad to start my first Biganimals Blue whale photography expedition. I’m offering three departures to Sri Lanka in March and April, 2012. I’ve prepared a PDF for you with all the details. Click to download it.
Also, the new BigAnimals Expeditions Blue whale schedule for 2013 is in the making. March 20 – April 1, 2013, March 29 – April 8, 2013, and April 5 – 19, 2013. I accomodate only four guests per adventure – space is very limited. If you’re interested please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place on this amazing adventure.
The 1975 Steven Spielberg movie Jaws had a universally chilling effect on the human perception of sharks and, unfortunately, firmly stamped the Hollywood version of vicious shark behavior in our memories. A more recent Hollywood effort, Soul Surfer, based on the true story of 19-year-old champion surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack, left the shark out of the story, for the most part.
Sharks get a lot of bad press. But who will defend their reputation? At TEDx Conejo, I talked to an enthusiastic audience about how Jaws is a complete fabrication. Nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to the real nature of sharks.
End the ‘killer’ shark stereotype
Still, the misinformation and hysteria around sharks remains, and biologists, scientists, and others like myself have been working to counteract the negative shark reputation ever since.
You want the truth? The National Aquarium in Baltimore says that more people die of bee stings every year than shark attacks. And remember this: Humans are not a normal or even preferred part of the shark diet.
A number of world-famous divers, including William Winram (also known as the Shark Publicist) and Fred Buyle have been working to fight the myths around sharks and eliminate the ‘killer’ reputation of these Biganimals. These divers are known for diving with sharks and taking only their cameras – no weapons.
We recently had a well-attended scouting mission diving with the Okavango River Crocodiles, another Biganimalof seven to 12 feet in length who also comes with a sinister reputation. Our direct, personal experience – and the experiences of my crew and guests – with these river crocodiles was very different than the current public perception that labels these magnificent creatures as terrors along the river.
The Great White shark’s reputation as a nasty predator is also highly undeserved. Certainly, yes, they’re big ‒ as long as 16 feet and as heavy as two thousand pounds ‒ and they’ve got loads of teeth ‒ as many as 300 ‒ and they are powerful, but the truth is most sharks are actually quite shy and prefer to stay away from humans. Plus, they are some of the most fascinating animals you will ever encounter and some of the most rare.
Humans kill over a million sharks each year – some for their meat, cartilage and skin, some for their fins. Many are killed as bycatch by industrial fishing operations. The bottom line is that sharks have a lot more to fear from humans than the other way around. It’s not hard to figure out who the hunter is in this scenario.
The arctic is a place of great mystery, and even more so these days, when it’s never been warmer up there. Yes, that’s right. While a lot of the US is seeing snow, ice and excessive cold, the place that we think of as being the coldest on the planet is going through a warm season. Scientists are reporting the arctic just had the least amount of sea ice on record in January. Air temperature is way above normal, too, even as “down south” people are shoveling their cars out of the snow.
A warmer Arctic
The experts are trying to understand if these two things are related. It’s well established that a warmer arctic is a fact – and it’s been going on like that steadily in recent years, but scientists don’t know yet if some of that arctic air moving south is a trend or a blip. Just another mystery of the arctic, I think.
Here’s another arctic mystery for you: Polar bears might be facing their own population crisis. Why? Polar bears rely on sea ice when they hunt. They use it to get to the seals – their main food. Researchers have discovered that as the arctic becomes warmer, sea levels have dropped and there are fewer newborn polar bear cubs. Pregnant polar bear mothers go into hiding in a winter den and fast during part of their eight-month term. If they haven’t eaten enough before they do, they might not be able to sustain themselves. Scientists believe that having less food makes it less likely for a mother polar bear to give birth to a surviving cub. So there’s a relationship between the polar bear mom’s ability to survive and warmer weather. Since things seem to be changing in the wilds of the arctic, it seems like there’s no time like the present to have a look around there yourself.
Experience the High Arctic of Canada
I’d like you to experience some of the mystery, in mid-April. Will you join me? I’m leading an expedition to the high arctic of Canada, where we’ll see polar bear families emerging after months in their snow dens. We’ll see polar bear cubs learning to walk and play and track them when they head out to the edge of an ice floe to hunt for seals.
The days up there are 18 hours long – perfect for wildlife photography. Put your camera to your eye and you’ll capture spectacular images of baby polar bears and their mothers, the Aurora Borealis, endless white landscapes, seals and whales. We’ll have an opportunity explore Inuit camp life, too. There are only two spaces left on this trip, so I’d ask that if you would like to join us, please book today.
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