Thursday, October 27, 2011

WMMSN and The Cove

Have you seen or heard of the 2010 Academy Award winner The Cove? It's about little coastal town in Japan called Taiji, and their dirty little secret: mass dolphin slaughter.

Well, that's the simplified version. It's actually a really complex issue complete with government coverups, serious health issues, dolphinariums, and captive dolphin issues. It's an amazing movie and I urge each and every one of you to watch it. Do not shy away from it simply because of the slaughter aspect, you can easily cover your eyes for the short clips, but the movie will open your eyes to so much you never knew. It will also, hopefully, inspire you to become active in helping to end the dolphins slaughter.

That's what it did for me. And now I'm writing to you from my hotel in Japan, just minutes away from the infamous cove. I have traveled here as a volunteer for Ric O'Barry's Dolphin Project, Save Japan Dolphins, to help document and share this slaughter with the world.

Please follow along with my blog, which I will be updating daily. And please, if you haven't already, watch The Cove! It will change your life. Besides, if I can be here to witness it in person, surely you all can watch the movie and hide your face behind a pillow every now and then. :)


For the Dolphins!

Heather Hill
Education Director

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

'The Honeysuckle Story' to Play at Film Festival!

We are excited to announce that the WMMSN's own documentary 'The Honeysuckle Story' has been accepted into the Film Festival at the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference held later this month in Vancouver, Canada! 

"The festival will showcase the best and most recent films, videos and multi-media presentations about regional habitats and inhabitants of the Salish Sea."

What an honor! If you haven't seen 'The Honeysuckle Story' yet, check it out!

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Whale comes to Bellingham!

Have you heard the story of Luna (L98)?

Luna was a member of our Southern Resident Killer Whale Community, born to Splash (L67) in 1999. As a resident killer whale, Luna would have, and should have, spent his entire life in the company of his family. Resident killer whales have the tightest social bonds on Earth, never leaving their mother, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, great grandmothers, etc. But this was not the case for Luna. Somehow, one day, Luna became separated from his family. He was less than 2 years old. This is the true story of his life, all the friendship he made, and all lives he changed during his short time on our planet.

'The Whale' is a remake of the amazing film 'Saving Luna', done by Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit, this time with a little help from the new narrator, Ryan Renolds. It is currently playing in Bellingham at the Pickford Limelight on Cornwall Ave, through October 13th. Gather your friends and family to see this wonderful film about an amazing little whale. This is a must-see!

For showtimes and locations visit

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Squalicum Beach Seal Rescue

Today we received a call about a harbor seal at Squalicum Beach with injuries to its head. WMMSN responders arrived on scene to find that this seal not only had head injuries, but also appeared to be pinned in the water between rocks.

Given the small size of the seal (about 2.5 feet in length) we determined it was under a year in age, probably weaned only a month or so ago. When I first spotted the seal, it was hard to tell whether or not it was even alive. Given the predicament it was in, it wouldn't have been hard to imagine it had died. The waves washed in and out, but the seal did not move. It was an utterly heartbreaking sight. Then, it let out a few wheezing coughs, and the rest of the WMMSN responders arrived. It was time to get to work saving this seal!

We moved as many rocks as we could, but the seal still appeared pinned in place. We were all tempted to just grab it under its flipper pits and try to gently lift it out of there, but despite its injuries, this seal was quite alert and growling up a storm. We were definitely looking at the business end of those chompers! With a little bit of creative thinking, we were able to manipulate a net into a harness around its midsection. One responder lifted another rock, the seal started to scamper out of its hole, and with the net we were able to coax it into a pet carrier. Finally, it was ready for transport!

Next came the ordeal of HOW to transport it. San Juan Airlines is very generous, and allows us to put seal pups on their plane bound for San Juan Island, home of Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, free of charge. Unfortunately for us though, the last flight of the day had already gone out. Two of our responders volunteered to drive the seal down to Anacortes, and escort it on the ferry, as Wolf  Hollow volunteers were waited on the other side to receive it.

Our mission was a success. We were able to rescue and safely transport the seal to the rehab center, but it's not out of the woods yet. Now it is up to Wolf Hollow volunteers to nurse this little one back to health. Let's hope this little harbor seal has the strength and will to live, and will pull through and be released back into the wild!

Stay tuned for more updates about this little seal, as well as our soon-to-be-released rescued pups from this summer!