Today, one tidbit that’s good and one that’s interesting.
Let’s start with the good news:
For nearly a hundred years, New England’s gray seals had a bounty on their heads. Maine and Massachusetts paid people to kill them, because they depleted fishing stocks. They were also hunted for their meat and pelts. By 1973—a year after the Marine Mammal Protection Act made it illegal to systematically kill the animals—a census estimated there were only 30 gray seals left along the entire coast of Maine….”Past surveys based on traditional methods of counting … counted about 15,000 seals off the southeastern Massachusetts coast,” David Johnston, a marine conservation ecologist at Duke University, said in a statement. “Our technology-aided aerial survey, which used Google Earth imagery in conjunction with telemetry data from tagged animals, suggests the number is much larger—between 30,000 and 50,000.”
I will add, this post should say “…paid people to kill them because they were suspected of depleting fishing stocks.” It’s so typical to find out after you’ve poisoned a lot of wolves / trapped a lot of otters / shot a lot of seals that actually the species in question never did have that great an impact on the prey species you cared about. This article makes that point too: “We know almost nothing about what gray seals eat, how and where they forage, and whether they interact in an ecological way with fisheries,” he says. “There is very little evidence that culling seals will increase fishery yields or provide positive effects on the local ecosystem.”
Which doesn’t mean they don’t, but let’s find out before leaping in with guns and clubs, eh?
Meanwhile, for something completely different:
Well, not completely different, I assume. Still really big. Still got a really big storm called the Great Red Spot. Still got lots of moons.
Apparently it’s got some surprises other than that, though:
…when you look from the pole, it looks totally different … I don’t think anybody would have guessed this is Jupiter.
Cool pictures at the link.