Friday, March 19, 2010
Whale Poop Tells All
I thought both you and I could use a brief respite from the tragic tone and tough message of my recent postings. Lord knows there is too much pain and sadness in the sea of troubles that separates your world from mine. So today, I will talk about an amusing story that comes to us from Seattle, Washington, where Dr. Brand Hanson of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service (whew, his business card must be a foot long), has been studying whale poop. Poop you say? Yes, poop I say. You know, those little (little being a relative term), irregularly shaped nuggets of excrement that my kind leaves behind (pun intended). Unlike you humans, we obviously do not have tidy porcelain bowls to collect our waste. Instead, it floats off into the sea, or in this case, into Dr. Hanson’s net. (I hope he has a doctoral candidate to collect it). At any rate, using the poop of my cousins, the Resident Orcas of Puget Sound, Dr. Hanson has determined that they prefer Chinook salmon from British Columbia’s Fraser River to those spawned in rivers further south in the United States. He suggests this is because Fraser River Salmon are fatter but I have another theory: given that the Fraser River salmon are Canadian, they are friendlier than their American counterparts, and therefore more unsuspecting of the Orcas’ intentions. And what do they get for this greater sociability? They get eaten and turned into whale poop. Too bad for them, eh?