(click on photo to enlarge)
In front of Kroger, Daleville
I wish this photo had turned out better. I had to zoom way in, through the windshield. But like the subject matter anyway so I'm sharing ;) The Appalachian Trail cuts through here. During the spring/summer/fall, you can find hikers just like him picking up something to eat and drink at Kroger, or just taking a much deserved break. The picnic table that he is sitting on is where you can find many Kroger employees on their breaks, on a hot day. I like his trusty companions. I wonder who he's calling? "Mom, dad, send more money"!
1) The kids are out of school yesterday, today and Monday. Thursday and today are teacher workdays but Monday is MLK day. Yesterday I watched The Butler
Wow, what a great movie this was! Loved it!
2) While the boys and I were sick this week, we watched Blackfish
on Netflix. You know, growing up in San Diego, Sea World was a big part of that. We went often. Then as an adult and having kids of my own, we'd buy season passes. I'd take Ashlyn and Christian at least once a week. I always thought Sea World cared for the animals in their captivity. While being in a tank isn't the best circumstances for the animals, I still believed Sea World was doing it for the bigger picture of them all. Learning about them and teaching us. Well, that's not the case and really I should have known better. Sea World is just another big money making conglomerate that just cares about the bottom line than the animals they have stolen from their natural habitats. I will never spend another penney at Sea World and if you have a big family vacation planned that involves a trip to Sea World, I hope you will watch Blackfish before your visit. Oh, and keep a big box of Kleenex next to you while watching. Serious.
3) An interesting story about The Blackfish Effect is HERE
4) Killer whales live in tight-knit families, similar to other highly intelligent and long-lived animals, such as elephants, wolves and humans. Off the Northeastern Pacific coast, we have two resident populations of orca, the Northern and the Southern Residents. Although the two populations do not associate with each other, the structure of their families is very much the same.
Resident orca live in large family groups called pods, with multiple pods making up a population or community. The pods consist of multiple related matrilines, with each matriline often containing 3 or more generations. Each pod is led by the head female or matriach, as orca are a female dominated species (just like humans, right guys?!) The matriarch tends to be the oldest female in the extended family. Her experience and knowledge guides the pod, and the matriach teaches younger whales about everything from parenting skills, feeding tactics, and navigation through the vast territories that they cover.
The true beauty of this species is demonstrated in the relationship between a mother and her calf. Once a calf is born into a resident pod, they remain in that pod for the rest of their lives, often side-by-side with their mom and siblings. Orca are the only known species in the world where both female and male offspring stay with their mothers and immediate family forever.
**SeaWorld does not care. They will take the baby from the mother and move it to another park and mix families up. They think by just adding another whale in with them that they'll forget about the family member taken away.
5) About ten years ago a researcher was out in his small boat observing one of the pods that belong to the Northern Residents off northern Vancouver Island. He soon noticed that a female had just given birth but the calf was stillborn. It is not uncommon for female orca to carry the body of their deceased offspring on their rostrum (what we would call their face), seemingly unable to accept the calf is gone. The researcher went out on his boat everyday and followed the pod. The mother continued to carry around her calf day after day, unable to eat or sleep. Orca need 200 to 300 pounds of food a day, so you can imagine how difficult it was for the mother to continue to carry her calf like this. Unable to hang on to the baby with hands, the mother and close family would dive down to retrieve the body of the calf every time it slipped from the motherʼs face.
On the eighth day of carrying her dead calf around, the pod came to a rocky shoreline at low tide. The pod formed a U-shape around the female and her calf. She slowly raised the calfʼs little body on top of a rock ledge. The pod then all hovered in the water very still as if all saying their final good-byes, cooperatively mourning the loss of a family member they never got to know. To this day, it has been reported that this pod returns to the exact spot where the babyʼs body was laid and they remain there for a length of time, everyone subdued. This is a true example of a motherʼs love and a familyʼs uncompromising support through difficult experiences.
Although this story is sad, it gives us an insight into the nature of these animals. It teaches us that humans are not the only species capable of deep emotions, and reminds us that we need to respect and protect the animals who we share this world with. We still have so much more to learn! Read more HERE
Obviously Blackfish had a great impact on me. While it was difficult to watch, we did. While parts of the documentary flashed to the laughing crowds at the Shamu shows, I was embarrassed that I was one of those people laughing and clapping at this barbaric treatment of these beautiful creatures. Hopefully our children's generation will know better. Off my soapbox now ;)
A friend commented on this whole Blackfish debate with a couple of links from the other side of the coin. You can read those stories HERE
Check out more Randoms at Nancy's Rural Journal! And have a great weekend!!