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Thread: At least it was quick.

  1. #1
    Scrat
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    At least it was quick.

    Sad ending. I saw him hanging around a pier in 2003 while on a weekend trip. A bunch of kids were trying to get him to play tug of war with an old bouy on the beach.

    Luna the orca killed by tugboat
    Young whale dies in propeller collision

    By ROBERT McCLURE
    P-I REPORTER

    In the end, the wayward orca Luna died as he had lived and become well-known -- alone. And lonely.

    The young killer whale, which somehow got separated from his whale family in the back bays of Vancouver Island, died in a grisly collision with a tugboat's propeller Friday.


    Scott Eklund / P-I
    Bonding with people and boats may have led to Luna's demise.
    The death of a whale that attracted thousands of tourists -- some from overseas -- sparked anew arguments over whether Canadian officials and native leaders mishandled the situation.

    One minute Luna was frolicking around the back of a boat, as he did routinely in an attempt to secure the companionship he craved.

    The next minute, he was sucked into a tube containing a propeller powered by a 1,700-horsepower engine. It chopped the whale into bits. Until authorities recovered a large piece of the carcass, they were unsure they would even be able to positively identify the creature.

    "I'm furious!" said Michael Harris of the Orca Conservancy, the Seattle-based group that had consistently argued that the whale should be recaptured and returned to his whale family, known as L pod, which frequents the waters around the San Juan Islands.

    "This is the Katrina of orca advocacy," Harris said. "We saw a perfect storm gathering, and they sat around and did nothing, and now we've got a dead whale! It's incredibly tragic and frustrating."

    Luna's sad saga first came to light in spring 2001, when he turned up in Nootka Sound, a remote waterway that snakes inland from the Pacific to the old logging town of Gold River, B.C. His pod is known to forage in the waters off Vancouver Island in the spring.

    When the L pod returned to Puget Sound without Luna and an older male, his uncle, conservationists speculated the two may have been hunting together when the elderly uncle died. Others wondered if Luna had been purposely shunned by his pod. There's no way to know the truth.

    Orcas enjoy a lifespan comparable to humans. Scientists who study orcas say the 1-year-old calf being left alone was not unlike a human infant suddenly isolated in the woods. Fortunately, though, Luna was able to catch his own dinner.

    At first, Luna stayed about halfway up Nootka Sound, avoiding boats as a normal orca would. But after a time he began to follow vessels. He had his favorites. Orcas love to splash in the water together, to rub each other, and they enjoy close family bonds. Luna bonded with boats.

    Then he started soliciting petting by humans. Eventually, Luna's search for intimacy grew disruptive. He was known to push around 30-foot logs for onlookers' entertainment, carry twigs on his head, jump out of the water next to boats and push boats around with his nose. In one incident, he momentarily lifted a kayaker out of the water far enough that she was temporarily trapped. Later, he damaged some boats.

    With help offered by U.S. officials and conservationists on both sides of the border, the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans came up with a plan to capture Luna and transport him back to be with his family -- just as the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service recaptured Springer, an orca from a Canadian pod that turned up alone near Vashon Island at about the same time.

    But it was not to be. DFO officials had failed to consult closely with the local natives, or First Nations as they're known in Canada, the Mowachaht/Muchalaht -- who have long been angry at DFO because of its advocacy of salmon aquaculture in the area.

    And the natives had come to believe that Luna embodied the spirit of their chief, Ambrose Maquinna, who died just days before the orca showed up.

    When the DFO-sponsored capture was about to take place, members of the tribe showed up in canoes and lured the creature away from a pen in the water where DFO officials were trying to lure him. The Canadian government gave up on the recapture plan.


    AP
    Members of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation watch Luna while paddling in a canoe in Mooyah Bay, west of Gold River, B.C.
    "At the moment, the First Nation is in disbelief," Fisheries Program Manager Jamie James said Friday.

    But he said the tribe still believes it acted in the whale's best interest, because authorities had said that if Luna were not accepted by his pod, he would be recaptured again and put into an aquarium.

    "This is nothing we could predict or prevent in any way," James said of the accident Friday. "We stick to our statement that we let nature take its course."

    Lara Sloan, a spokeswoman for DFO, said the department had never given up on trying to reunite Luna with his pod. The alternative plan, which the First Nation acquiesced to, was to lead him out of Nootka Sound into the Pacific Ocean when the pod was nearby.

    "We always considered the lead-out an option. We were always watching where the pod was," she said. "We were continuing to work with the First Nations."

    She said Canadian authorities have no reason to doubt the word of the skipper of the oceangoing tugboat, the 104-foot General Jackson, that Luna's death was accidental.

    The vessel had come into Nootka Sound for refuge from foul weather in the Pacific, said DFO spokesman Dan Bate.

    A spokesman for the tugboat company, Great Northern Marine Towing Ltd. of New Westminster, B.C., said the captain and crew of the vessel General Jackson were heartbroken about the accident.

    "We're all very sad about it," said the spokesman, Barry Connerty. "We did everything we could to avoid that outcome."

  2. #2
    Scrat
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  3. #3
    Chatelaine of the Keep Raven's Avatar
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    Re: At least it was quick.

    Ours wasnt so lucky. We had a whale tragedy of our own here recently.
    ~Quoth the Raven, Nevermore!~

  4. #4
    Clipper
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    Re: At least it was quick.

    Mebbe if folks had left him alone to remain wild he would stiil be alive.....ya think?

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    Re: At least it was quick.

    <______________________> for Luna.
    I hope you cherish this sweet way of life, and I hope you know that it comes with a price.
    ~Darrel Worley~






    Bullet's trial was a farce. Can I get an AMEN?????

    We won't be punished for our sins, but BY them.



  6. #6
    Scrat
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    Re: At least it was quick.

    Mebbe if folks had left him alone to remain wild he would stiil be alive.....ya think?

    They tried that by even threatening fines ect on whalewatchers but he came to them. I am faulting the Indians on this and the PC Canucks that didn't allow the biologists to relocate him with his pod.

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    Senior Member BabyRider's Avatar
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    Re: At least it was quick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrat
    They tried that by even threatening fines ect on whalewatchers but he came to them. I am faulting the Indians on this and the PC Canucks that didn't allow the biologists to relocate him with his pod.
    Hmmm...so completely disregarding a cultural belief, a spiritual belief these Indians hold sits ok with you?
    I hope you cherish this sweet way of life, and I hope you know that it comes with a price.
    ~Darrel Worley~






    Bullet's trial was a farce. Can I get an AMEN?????

    We won't be punished for our sins, but BY them.



  8. #8
    SnoozeControl
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    Re: At least it was quick.

    The article said it would be comparable to abandoning a one year old human infant. That's a criminal act in our society... why would we allow a whale infant to be left on its own? I doubt any of us would allow a toddler to play in traffic.

    That's a spiritual belief?

    Tragic and needless.
    Last edited by SnoozeControl; 03-14-2006 at 06:37 AM. Reason: addition

  9. #9
    Scrat
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    Re: At least it was quick.

    Hmmm...so completely disregarding a cultural belief, a spiritual belief these Indians hold sits ok with you?
    Considering that these local whale pods are apparently not having calves and decreasing in numbers, yes. Toss into the mix the fact that half of the tribe was heading to their boats with harpoons and highpowered rifles in hand at one point is enough of a reason for me to relocate him.

    There is also the factor that as he grew he became more playful. I wouldn't want to be on anything manmade on the water with a 30ft Orca that wanted to play catch with a floating log. He was going to have to go, one way or another.

    The beliefs ect of the natives people of America are to me a priceless piece of human history and should be preserved in every form possible. I have read much about Indian cultures and while I am not inclined to spirituality the history and what we know about the past before Europeans came and screwed everything up is fastinating to me.

  10. #10
    Senior Member BabyRider's Avatar
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    Re: At least it was quick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrat
    Toss into the mix the fact that half of the tribe was heading to their boats with harpoons and highpowered rifles in hand at one point is enough of a reason for me to relocate him.
    That's true? Then I don't understand this at all. What else do you have on this, Scrat?
    I hope you cherish this sweet way of life, and I hope you know that it comes with a price.
    ~Darrel Worley~






    Bullet's trial was a farce. Can I get an AMEN?????

    We won't be punished for our sins, but BY them.



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