Otter Pup on Exhibit!
Cuteness alert! A rescued male sea otter pup went on exhibit January 21, with companion otter, Gidget. The debut of the 12 1/2-week-old makes him the sixth pup ever to go on exhibit. He’s also the 649th stranded otter to be brought into our Sea Otter Research and Conservation program since 1984.
Otter 649 was stranded in November 2013 on Jalama Beach in Santa Barbara County as a three-week-old weighing less than seven pounds. He was admitted into our veterinary intensive care unit, where he was cared for until he was introduced to Gidget. Otter 649 is now robust and healthy, weighing 16 pounds!
Otter 649 will be transferred to another aquarium accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, where he’ll learn how to socialize with other exhibit animals. That’s why, for now, this otter has a number for a name—our colleagues at the sister aquarium get to do the naming!
Otter 649 is easy to recognize due to his smaller size and uniformly black, velvet-like fur. He will remain on exhibit as long as husbandry staff continues to see positive interactions with Gidget. (This is the first pup Gidget has mentored.) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has authorized the Aquarium to raise him on exhibit and declared him to be non-releasable.
We hope you get a chance to see him!
BABY OTTER ALERT! OMG YOU GUYS! WE HAVE A NEW PUP ON EXHIBIT.
Anchorman Ron Burgundy is SO Wrong About Sea Otters!
In a recent appearance on The Conan O’Brien Show he said that sea otters are “the dumbest animal on Planet Earth.”
He’s so, so wrong – and we think, on reflection, he’ll conclude that, “I immediately regret this decision.”
Won’t you help restore the sea otters’ good name?
Sea otters can’t speak for themselves. (Though you can read their “Open Letter to Anchorman Ron Burgundy” below.)
But you can speak up for them!
Go on Twitter and tweet a challenge to @Will___Ferrell, to Conan O’Brien and to Paramount Pictures: “Anchorman Ron Burgundy is wrong about sea otters! He can visit them at @MontereyAq & learn what they’re REALLY like.”
Here’s what our sea otters have to say
Dear Anchorman Ron Burgundy,
We just learned that you’ve been saying mean things about sea otters.
This week on The Conan O’Brien Show you told the ENTIRE COUNTRY that we’re “the dumbest animal on Planet Earth.” “Boring as hell,” you said. On the bottom rung on your Hierarchy of Animal Positionology.
Here’s what we say:
Boo to you, Ron Burgundy! We stick out our tongues at you!
But — we are generous creatures, and we’re willing to keep an open mind. We don’t believe you’re a hopeless case. (You might — possibly — rank higher than the hermit crab on your own Positionology chart. Maybe.)
We invite you to pay us a visit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium — the center for sea otter conservation and inspiration. Meet us in person, mano a pata. We’re confident you’ll see the error of your ways, and realize how wrongheaded you’ve been about a species that might oh, we don’t know….maybe HOLD THE KEY to saving Planet Earth from the perils of climate change.
At the very least, we’ll crack open a crab or two for you to snack on.
Photos: Anchorman poster courtesy Paramount Pictures. Sea otter © Bill Coggin
It is on, Ron Burgundy!
I hope you enjoy these little guys in tuxedos almost as much as I enjoyed making these GIFS!
This practically made me cry. How could this ever be okay?
[Image: An illustration is labeled as a “partial birth abortion”. It shows a person performing an intact dilation and extraction, which is described at the bottom of the image: “The surgeon pulls the fetus into the breech position. He forced scissors into the skull, removes them and inserts a suction catheter through which he suctions out the skull contents.”]
I’m going to tell you a story that my tenth grade biology teacher told me.
So, my teacher had a friend. She was happily married, a Christian, and pregnant. She and her husband were extremely excited about the pregnancy and they couldn’t wait to be parents. She was pretty far along - probably about 7 month in. She went to get a check-up, and her doctor checked out the fetus. Well, it turns out her fetus had hydrochephalus. In this particular case, the fetus’s head had not and would not form enough to even hold the brain inside the skull. If the woman continued the pregnancy, she would give birth to a dead baby, and that’s if it didn’t die in utero and possibly cause sepsis before she had the opportunity to give birth.
So, and this was before the “partial birth abortion ban” was enacted (not when the story was told, but when it took place), the woman opted to get an intact dilation and extraction procedure (since that’s the proper medical term, “partial birth abortion” is a made up term and has no medical relevance).
Do you know what that allowed her to do? What that allows a lot of uterus-bearers in the same predicament to do?
She was able to hold her dead, intact fetus and mourn for it.
Now, she would have to get a procedure that literally rips the fetus apart, since apparently anti-choicers looking for a means to chip away at Roe v Wade think that this is a better alternative to the described procedure above. As the law currently stands, it is now impossible for people like the woman I described to have their fetuses aborted intact so that they can hold them like they wanted to. It is impossible for women like the one I described to have a body to mourn over.
So good job. Because you’re too ignorant to actually know why uterus-bearers get late-term abortion, specifically intact D & X procedures, you’ve essentially made it much harder for those that are experiencing the difficult choice to end a wanted pregnancy to mourn and move on.
But hey, go ahead and continue to consider yourself compassionate. I guess ignorance really is bliss, especially when you can hold up illustrations of medical procedures you don’t understand and hide behind them as if they have any meaning in the face of the reality that you refuse to acknowledge.
What do Aquarium staffers do in their spare time? Go whale watching of course! Thanks to Web Designer Kevin Garcia for the great shots, taken Saturday. We’re still seeing record numbers of humpbacks in Monterey Bay.
So I went whale watching this weekend…
Jennifer Roberts, a professor of the history of art and architecture at Harvard, thinks she has a fairly simple solution to help her American art history students appreciate the act of focusing: They must pick any painting, sculpture, or object made by an American artist and stare at it — for three hours.
“They’re usually skeptical at first,” she told me, “but afterward, they tell me the process was really astonishing, enabling them to see things, make observations, and develop original ideas about the work that never would have occurred otherwise.”
Roberts, herself, has seen the payoffs of strategic patience after her own close analysis of John Singleton Copley’s 1765 painting “Boy With a Squirrel” (inset). After spending an hour with the painting, she noticed echoing patterns in the shapes of the boy’s ear and the squirrel’s ruff. After two hours, she got a different insight: that Copley is likely to have thought about the impact that his work would have on the London art world when he was painting it.
“What I like so much about this assignment is that it goes right to the heart of the belief that you’ll feel bored if you pay attention to one thing for so long,” said Daniel Willingham, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia. “A lot of time when we turn away from things, we’re missing stuff that will give us a richer understanding of the world.”
When I first stumbled across the photographs of Bobbie Hanvey, I thought I had found an undiscovered master – perhaps another sort of Vivian Maier. My heart skipped a beat. But when I dug a little deeper I realized that he was quite well known in Northern Ireland, where he has been documenting the culture in photos and audio for more than 35 years. Only recently however, has his work become available to a wider audience.
Bringing Bobbie’s photographs to America is part of the mission of his son, Steafán Hanvey, a singer/songwriter on tour with a new album, called ‘Nuclear Family’, as well as a multimedia presentation showcasing original music alongside his father’s work.
When I recently talked with him, Bobbie Hanvey was quick to point out that, “I’m not an artist,” although the mind-boggling scope of his archive says otherwise.
Since 1977 he’s recorded over 1,000 interviews for his radio program “Ramblin’ Man”, which airs on Downtown Radio. And Boston College Libraries recently acquired more than 75,000 of his photographs, which capture the political and cultural life of Northern Ireland since the 1970s.
Photo Credit: The Bobbie Hanvey Photographic Archives, John J. Burns Library, Boston College, Courtesy of the Trustees of Boston College and Peter Muhly/AFP
Peacock Mantis Shrimp — He’s Baaaaack!
Tiny, deadly and gorgeous. That’s the peacock mantis shrimp, and we just placed one on exhibit in our Splash Zone galleries.
You’ll have to work a bit to see it. It’s housed — alone — in a small aquarium inside the Coral Crawl tunnel in Splash Zone. But it’s well worth the effort!
This is the first time we’ve hosted a mantis shrimp since 2001 when one of them stowed away inside some coral rock and earned us international headlines and live CNN coverage. (There’s something compelling about a “killer shrimp” terrorizing other animals in the children’s area of an internationally known aquarium.)
They pack quite a punch
Since then, we’ve been wary of deliberately introducing a mantis shrimp — and for good reason. Aquarists and scuba divers refer to them as “thumb-splitters” because their claws pack a punch as powerful as a .22-caliber bullet.
Those same claws can shatter a clam shell, and crack open a crab or shatter glass. They can bring down a blue-ringed octopus or a fish. The claws are made of a material so hard it can deliver 50,000 blows between molts - without breaking. It’s being studied by scientists as a model for crafting super-strong body armor for soldiers.
And it moves its claws so fast that they turn water into plasma and sound into light.
“A thermonuclear bomb of light and beauty”
But that’s not the end of the story, as celebrated cartoonist Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal explains in his online love-letter, “Why the mantis shrimp is my new favorite animal.”
He starts by examining the eyes that make them unbelievably effective hunters. Their vision is so sensitive that a mantis shrimp can see in both infrared and ultraviolet spectra, and uses 16 color receptor cones (compared to just three for humans).
Inman observes: “Where we see a rainbow, the mantis shrimp sees a thermonuclear bomb of light and beauty.”
It’s that combination of experiencing a world of transcendent beauty — and then turning around and pounding its prey to smithereens — that fascinates Matthew Inman.
We hope you’ll be fascinated, too, at the chance to see a peacock mantis shrimp face to face — on the other side of shatterproof acrylic.
There are days I love working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium more than others. Hell yeah Mantis Shrimp!