Dolphin Facts from Dolphin Blue

As the namesake of Dolphin Blue, here are a few fun facts about dolphins:

  • They can jump up to 30 ft.
  • They can have between 80 – 250 teeth
  • Dolphins can consume up to 30 lbs of fish per day
  • They have the ability to hear 10 times better than humans
  • Dolphins live in social groups from five to several hundred
  • Their pregnancies can last from 9-17 months depending on species
  • They can live up to 60 years
  • Dolphins communicate using clicks, whistles, and other vocalizations

To get an idea of how all of these skills work together in tandem, take a look at southern Africa’s sardine run that occurs every year between May and July. Each summer hoards of sardines swim north along the African coast where dolphins, sharks, and other wildlife wait to feed on them. Earth-Touch created this infographic to visually illustrate how dolphins hunt during this unusual phenomenon, employing all of their many talents with great efficiency.

With all of these offensive capabilities, Dolphins are also able to successfully defend and kill attacking sharks. For instance, killer whales are the largest member of the dolphin family and routinely defend their pods from sharks, with sometimes only one whale versus several sharks. However, dolphins use their skills for more than their own gain; they seem to have a remarkable capability for altruism. There are several widely publicized stories of dolphins taking heroic action to save humans and even dogs.

But there’s more! It is theorized that dolphins have very high intelligence with their brain mass to body ratio rivaling that of humans. For instance, dolphins, elephants, and apes are the only animals tested that can recognize a reflection in a mirror by demonstrating preening behaviors. What divas!

It is important for us to keep the earth and the oceans clean to promote such fascinating aquatic wildlife. Check out our products for new ways to stay eco-friendly.

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Infographic Friday: March for Elephants

Elephants are being poached for their ivory at the highest rate ever recorded. Current estimates put the figure at 36,000 elephants killed annually, equating to one elephant dying every 15 minutes.

The International March for Elephants organized by iworry, a campaign by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, was created to sound a warning that the future survival of elephants is in serious jeopardy.

Elephants share the same emotions as humans. They have a strong sense of family and mourn the deaths of their loved ones, just as we do. Elephants have unique personalities like us, too! They can be playful or mischievous; they can even hold grudges.

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has learned the beauty of elephants first hand and they have also witnessed the terrible impact of the renewed ivory poaching that we are seeing today. In just 18 days in September, they were called on to rescue 14 orphaned elephants. To date, they have arrested 1,406 poachers and their veterinary teams have successfully treated over 500 wounded elephants.

The International March for Elephants is demanding stronger laws and penalties associated with wildlife crime in countries where poaching and ivory trafficking occurs; increased levels of investment in anti-poaching initiatives by international governments; increased diplomatic pressure on countries where elephants live; and pressure on those nations that fuel the demand.

Learn more about The International March for Elephants and join the digital march to help protecting elephants now!

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A Whale’s Tale of Friendship

This past Sunday, Christina Callaghan shared a touching story. She is a guide for the Pirate’s Cove Whale Watch in Tiverton, Long Island and was out on her cruiser when she spotted a whale nearby. As she and her crew approached they realized that the whale was entangled in fishing ropes and lobster traps and was having trouble breathing. It’s a common and heartbreaking situation that whale watchers often come across, except this time it was a little different; this whale had a friend by her side!

The tangled female Humpback whale named Foggy was being kept company by her male Humpback friend Grommet. Foggy had ropes all over her body and was listing to one side because of the weight of lobster traps she was dragging beneath her. Grommet was swimming next to Foggy, popping his head in and out of the water as if he were calling for help. He never left Foggy’s side. “I will challenge anyone who claims that humans are the only intelligent, empathetic animals”, Christina wrote.

Christina’s crew notified a whale disentanglement crew to free Foggy and waited for the fast rescue craft (FRC) to arrive. The FRC assessed the situation and carefully cut away the ropes that had trapped Foggy with their specially designed equipment. Foggy allowed the team to approach her and let them work to cut her free.

As the last rope was cut away from Foggy’s head, releasing her to freedom, Grommet dove deep into the ocean and then burst from the water in a beautiful breach. “Tell me that wasn’t a celebration”, wrote Christina.

The last they saw of the two whale friends, they were heading side by side up the Bay of Fundy. The whale watch guides and rescue crew were left with huge smiles on their faces. “I, and anyone who was there, will always remember Foggy’s rescue this afternoon”, Christina said.

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Dallas Zoo Creates Unlikely Trio

The Dallas Zoo has just become the new home to two male cheetah cubs named Kamau and Winspear. Some day they’ll be able to go from 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds but today they’re meeting their new best friend. To calm the naturally nervous and rambunctious cheetahs, animal care specialists are employing an effective tactic used by zoos; they’re pairing the cheetah cubs with a black labrador puppy.

The two month old lab puppy is named Amani, meaning peace in Swahili, and he will live with the cheetahs 24/7. According to the animal care specialists supervising their introduction, eventually the cheetahs will see the puppy as one of their own, or part of their “coalition”. The dog will be a calming influence on the big cats insuring that they are relaxed enough to be taken into public.

The cheetah cubs are now part of the Dallas Zoo’s Animal Adventures program designed to educate the public about highly endangered species. The traveling outreach program exposes audiences to 30 different animals including a variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. Cheetahs could use the exposure. With less than 10,000 cheetahs in the wild, it is extremely important to educate the public on the beauty of the cheetah and to inspire communities to help protect them.

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Sea Otters Saving the Coastlines

According to a recently published study from the University of California, Santa Cruz, endangered sea otters are playing an important role in protecting many vital aspects of the marine ecosystem. Sea otters feed on crabs, crabs who would otherwise eat the marine animals that clean sea grass of algae caused by agricultural run-off from farm pollution.

Thanks to the sea otters, those sea grass cleaning animals stay hard at work counteracting the harmful agricultural run-off affecting the health of costal ecosystems. The otters keep the crab numbers low allowing the sea grass to thrive, according to the UC Santa Cruz researchers. Species like herring, cod, and salmon use sea grass as nurseries, therefore the more sea grass they have access to the more their numbers will thrive.

The appetite of the sea otter is also helping to keep sea urchin numbers low. Sea urchins prey on giant kelp, but since the giant kelp has been able to grow, it is able to act as a shelter to many marine species and also help combat global warming by absorbing 12 times more carbon dioxide than if it was not being protected from sea urchins.

Southern sea otters were nearly hunted to extinction from the 18th to early 20th century when they were sought after for their thick fur. A small population survived in the Big Sur area of California and now their numbers have slowly recovered to approximately 2,800 in the area. Sea otters are just one of the many vital aspects of our marine ecosystem and one more reason it is so important to protect our endangered animals and assist in their recovery with federal protections and activism.

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6 Natural Ways to Keep Your Home & Garden Pest Free

Catnip

Most cats adore catnip but this herb has been found to be very effective in repelling mosquitoes.

There are many ways to keep your home and garden pest free this summer without the use of harmful chemicals found in common pesticides. Check out Dolphin Blue‘s eco-friendly solutions below and let us know what you think!

  • Basil. Keep flies away by planting this great smelling herb in small pots along windowsills and doorways. Don’t forget to keep some of your basil in the kitchen in case you need to add some to your next meal.
  • Catnip. Add some of your cat’s favorite plant to your garden to keep mosquitoes away. Studies have shown that catnip can repel mosquitoes more effectively than the controversial pesticide DEET. You can also crush the leaves and rub them directly on your skin for added protection.
  • Citrus. Mix fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice with water and spray along your windowsills and doorways to keep out pesky spiders. Spread the remaining citrus peels out in your garden to keep spiders at bay.
  • Vinegar. Fill a small dish with vinegar, a few drops of liquid dishwashing soap, and water to trap and kill fruit flies. You can also use vinegar to create a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water to wipe along surfaces in order to destroy the scent trails that ants use to navigate.
  • Cinnamon Bark Oil. Mix several drops of this essential oil in a 1:1 solution of water and denatured alcohol to help control dust mites in your home. Spray the mixture wherever dust collects.
  • Irish Spring Soap. You can hang, spike or sprinkle this soap near the areas of your yard that fall prey to hungry deer. They don’t like the smell and will stay away from your tasty lettuce, beans, and pansies.

Dolphin Blue’s lawn and garden section is ripe with sustainable products for your indoor and outdoor garden. Check them out on DolphinBlue.com!

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Shark Facts to Sink Your Teeth Into

Megalodon

Dr. Jeremiah Clifford holds the jaws of a large great white shark while standing in the reconstructed jaws of a megalodon.

Last week, you may have tuned in to Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week which kicked off with a two-hour documentary titled, “Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives”. The megalodon, a prehistoric shark from the Miocene era, could grow more than 50 feet long and dwarf even the largest great white shark swimming in today’s ocean. Unfortunately, Discovery Channel’s megalodon documentary was more of a mockumentary in the sense that its scientist were really actors and the 67 foot long megalodon they were chasing (nicknamed Submarine) was not really terrorizing folks off the coast of South Africa because megalodons haven’t existed for millions of years.

This year’s Shark Week has sparked a bit of controversy with its Reality TV feel. So if you’ve been wanting more bite for your buck, keep reading to learn some little known facts about sharks.

  1. Sharks don’t hunt humans. Sharks are highly-specialized predators whose feeding strategies evolved long before humans entered the water. With over 350 shark species around today, fewer than 10 are considered dangerous to humans.
  2. Sharks can detect electrical fields. Special organs in their snouts enable them to pick up electrical pulses emitted from the muscle movements or beating hearts of potential prey.
  3. Female sharks can impregnate themselves. Through a form of asexual reproduction called parthenogenesis, shark embryos can grow and develop without fertilization.
  4. Sharks rarely get sick. Shark tissues have anticoagulant and antibacterial properties which scientists are studying in the hopes of discovering treatments for various medical conditions, including cystic fibrosis and forms of cancer.
  5. Humans are a shark’s most dangerous predator. Scientists have estimated that for every 1 human killed by a shark, there are 25 million sharks killed by humans.

An alarming number of sharks are killed every hour due to the gruesome act of shark finning and the harmful effects of bycatching in fishing equipment. The shark is a vital ocean predator that plays a huge part in balancing our delicate marine ecosystem. Learn how you can stop shark finning and get involved in shark conservation efforts.

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Exciting Eco-Eating: The Down & Dirty On Edible Insects

The U.N. recently released a report extolling the virtues of edible insects as an environmentally responsible alternative to meat as a source of protein and other nutrients.  With their high fat, protein, fiber, and mineral contents, edible insects certainly pack a healthy punch! What’s even better is that the cost to our environment to raise insects for consumption is far less than the impact of raising large livestock for meat.

Adding mealworms to caramel apples gives this fun treat a tasty crunch!

Adding mealworms to caramel apples gives this fun treat a tasty crunch!

Even though entomophagy, or the act of eating insects, hasn’t quite caught on in the West (yet!), in many other countries around the world, bugs are eaten with gusto and are often considered a delicacy. So, why should you add bugs to your menu?

The Problem: Meat is Unsustainable
Relying on large livestock (cattle, pigs, and chickens, for example) for one’s primary source of protein means one must rely on highly inefficient, greenhouse-gas-producing, and sometimes cruel practices to obtain nutrients. Not to mention the health problems associated with consuming too much meat.  With the world’s population growing at an incredible rate and the demand for food rising along with it, having enough land to support both people and large livestock will soon become an issue, as well. All this is why many have said that producing and consuming as much livestock as we do is not sustainable.

But, you’re not willing to go cold turkey on your meat and go vegetarian? Why not try substituting meat with insects every now and then? All the nutrients, none of the burden on our environment.

Edible Insects: Less is More
Insects are an eco-friendly food option for a simple reason: they need less—less food (some insects can be raised on human/animal waste, which reduces the possibility of environmental contamination and avoids wasting food that could be eaten by humans), less water, less space. They even release fewer greenhouse gases and ammonia than cows, pigs, and chickens.

Many insects’ feed conversion rates (the amount of feed it takes to put on 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of body weight in an animal) are much lower than traditional meat sources. The feed conversion rates of crickets, chickens, pigs, and cows are shown below:

Crickets 3.7 lbs of feed: 2.2 lbs of body weight gain
Chickens 5.5 lbs of feed: 2.2 lbs of body weight gain
Pigs 11 lbs of feed: 2.2 lbs of body weight gain
Cows 22 lbs of feed: 2.2 lbs of body weight gain

Large livestock create a larger toll on the earth with problems ranging from habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, greenhouse gas emissions, and contamination from livestock and feed farms and farming practices. In general, insects are more efficient to farm and their impact on the environment is much less severe.

For something we spend so much time and money trying to exterminate, insects may actually be the first step to a solution to many of our world’s burgeoning social and environmental problems. All we have to do is get past those legs.

Creepy Crawly Recipes
Looking for some yummy ways to try bugs? Check out these sites, and add some environmentally conscious treats to your plate.

http://edibug.wordpress.com/recipes/
http://www.ent.iastate.edu/misc/insectsasfood.html
http://www.insectsarefood.com/recipes.html

For other ways to add a splash of green to your life, check out Dolphin Blue for sustainable office, home, and pet supplies.

(This blog was written by Dolphin Blue’s amazing intern, Elisa Rivera.)

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Infographic Friday: Buzzing Off, How Dying Bees Affects You

Honey bees are super pollinators and have an enormous impact on the environment.  Since the mid 2000′s their numbers have been declining rapidly. Scientist are unable to explain their disappearance but one thing is for certain, the absence of bees would leave much of the world’s food supply in question. Without pollinating insect life, fruits, vegetables, and field crops would be obsolete causing extreme hardship for the farm and food industry and leaving their future, and our survival, in question.

See the infographic below to find out more about why honey bees are so important to us and what you can do to save them.

How the disappearance of bees will affect you.

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Earth Watch: Right Whales Need Your Help Right Now

The North Atlantic Right Whale is bigger than a humpback whale and longer than a Greyhound Bus. At present, they are among the most endangered whales in the world with their numbers dwindling to about 350 worldwide. Even though they are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, there is a new threat to their survival.

North Atlantic Right Whales

North Atlantic Right Whale mother and calf swim together off the coast of southern Georgia.

In August 2009, the U.S. Navy announced that it would construct its Undersea Warfare Training Range near the only known calving ground for the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. Right whales gather in their calving grounds off southern Georgia and northern Florida each winter through spring to give birth and raise their calves. It is designated as a critical habitat for the species yet the Navy plans to build a $100 million offshore training range and install an undersea array of cables and sensors for training warships, submarines and aircraft. In 2012, environmentalists sued to block the project, citing its proximity to the endangered whales’ calving grounds, but Judge Lisa Godbey Wood ruled in favor of the Navy even though they had not completed required environmental studies on whether operating the range would harm right whales and other endangered species.

Ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement accounted for nearly half of all North Atlantic right whale deaths for the past 40 years but the U.S. Navy brings with it an even greater threat. They plan to perform sonar tests that pose a great danger to both North Atlantic Right Whale populations and more than 40 marine mammal species. Sonar may not sound dangerous, but it could prove deadly for right whales. The sonar used by the Navy generates a high level noise that is used to locate modern hidden submarines. Whales and dolphins are especially receptive to this sonar because they possess a special organ near their brain that allows for the use of low level sonar to travel and communicate via echo-location. However, the military’s sonar is so intense that it can cause this special organ to begin bleeding and eventually lead to the animal’s death. Whales and dolphins beach themselves when they come into contact with the high level military sonar in an effort to escape the painful and damaging effect. Even at 300 miles away, sonar can reach a level of 140 decibels—100 times louder than the communications used by marine life.

Neptune Park, St. Simons, GA

North Atlantic Right Whales hold a special place in the hearts of Georgia residents as their state mammal. In Neptune Park, off the coast of St. Simons, Georgia, children play every day on a large playground sculpture of a mother right whale and her calf. Unfortunately, this sculpture sits near the newest threat to their survival.

In 2005, more than 30 whales were found beached in North Carolina after military exercises using sonar were conducted by the USS Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Battle Group. Necropsies on the beached whales found bleeding from the ears and brain after just a few days of sonar exposure. According to the Navy, their new Undersea Warfare Training Range would be used for anti-submarine warfare training for periods up to 6 hours about 470 times a year. The simulated warfare would use submarines, surface ships and aircraft, and would include the use of torpedoes and sonar.

Exposing endangered, sensitive marine life to threats from sonar and explosives is unnecessary. The time has come for the Navy to adopt common-sense measures that would protect the North Atlantic Right Whale and all marine mammals during routine training. It is possible to protect these ocean creatures without compromising our military readiness. The Navy could choose to avoid key habitats where right whales are known to migrate and raise their young or they could use satellite technology that is harmless to sea life instead of deadly sonar.

WHAT CAN YOU DO? Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and their partners have filed an appeal brief with the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta asking a federal court to overturn Judge Lisa Godbey Wood’s ruling allowing the U.S. Navy to build their Undersea Warfare Training Range close to waters where endangered right whales give birth and raise their calves. The SELC has successfully gone up against the U.S. Navy in previous wildlife protection cases.

The next court ruling in this case will be decided the week of July 15th. Our goal is to help educate as many people as we can about the details regarding Naval sonar use and the threats against our friends in the sea. Below we’ve listed some ways that you can get involved and make your voice heard. Please act right now to help protect the right whale and all the treasured marine life near this proposed military area.

Ways You Can Help & Learn More:

  • Sign the petition to U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, calling on him to put safeguards in place that will safeguard whales from the deadly impact of the Navy’s sonar in military training and testing: Click Here
  • Share this information with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and through Email
  • Stay updated and learn more on Southern Environmental Law Center’s case page: Click Here
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