Wednesday, February 18, 2009

*Sigh!* Now it's dolphins...

Today being my first day back after a couple of unplanned days off (cold, flu, whatever you want to call it...), I find I'm being greeted by a brand new eco-tragedy. Several callers have got in touch with us from Newfoundland about some dolphins which have been trapped by the ice in Seal Pond, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Apparently their alarmed squeals have local women in an uproar and they've been phoning our service here to find out: "just what DFO is going to do about it". As is that wasn't enough, I had a female caller from Virginia, who claimed to represent PETA, asking me the very same thing. She alleged that she had received calls from "some of their members in Newfoundland", who had voiced their concerns.
Basically, I told her the exact same thing I had previously told the other callers. Fisheries and Oceans Canada is part of the federal government. We're not an animal rescue society and it is not our responsibility to do so. Animal rescue associations are private entities and must operate within the Marine Mammal Regulations whenever they consider interceding/interfering with a marine mammal. Guidance in this case is provided by DFO, who will often work alongside these groups. I provided them with the contacts for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St.John's, NL but the city is in the grip of a wicked Nor'Easter today. Therer are no bodies in those offices, today. Nobody to answer the phone. Elsewise, they would have told them the same thing as I did and also offer further information on the restrictions concerning interfering with marine mammals and what DFO's role would actually be in all of this.

These are also the same type of people who phone us all alarmed because there is a seal sitting on an ice floe near their house. "He's been there for over 2 hours now...". No kidding? Seals sometimes do that, ya know... They don't spend every waking moment of their life submerged. They do need to breathe air, you know... I remember one caller advising us that we had better do something "because the kids were throwing rocks at it...". Asking the obvious question, I queried as to whether these children actually had parents or not. The caller actually seemed taken aback that the children's parents should be involved in any of this...

I just received another call from some fellow from Ottawa here. He's wanting to know why DFO hasn't sent an icebreaker yet to save the little darlings. "When you think of all the stories", he said, "where dolphins have saved sailors and rescued people from sharks... if the roles were reversed, they would save people". Yeah? You really think so? Those are some pretty tall stories you're quoting from there, boy. You tell your stories to the men of the USS Indianapolis and see what kind of reaction you get. All the tall tales this young lad is spouting, have no validity whatsoever. He's obviously been watching too many re-runs of Flipper or The Little Mermaid... Besides, there are some very good reasons for not sending in an icebreaker.

Not to be outdone, I get an e-mail from this woman from Welland, ON asking the inevitable:

"Why has this dept. not yet ordered an ice breaker to rescue the 5 porpoises that are trapped and facing certain death if a rescue is not implemented?

It is the responsibility of our gov't to assist in such matters and to not do so is unconscionable."

Nice to know that such out-of-touch-with-reality folks are the ones who dictate what the 'responsibilities' of various government entities are... Christ on a stick! Are you kiddin' me here???

Don't get me wrong... I love dolphins. They are incredibly intelligent and sensitive creatures, besides being a pure delight to observe in the wild. They do have a standing enmity with sharks, simply because sharks are known to follow dolphin pods and predate on their newly-born. They DO NOT have a habit of saving either sailors from drowning, or of protecting anyone from sharks. Nowhere will you find any evidence to support either one of these preposterous claims. Clearly this 'fantasy world of the secret lives of animals', is more prevalent than I actually believed. Like I say, we're raising a new generation of morons...

So no, I don't think an icebreaker is going to be dispatched any time soon. If one was, it's arrival would almost surely spell the dooom of these dolphins, as it would displace thousands of tons of ice ahead of it, effectively closing off whatever air hole these dolphins have at the moment. What these yokels are witnessing is, as I informed them, a natural event. It happens on a yearly basis in the Newfoundland region. It does not fit within the mandate of DFO to interfere with Mother Nature's way. Fortunately saner minds prevail over the impulse that 'nothing living must die!'. Even if so many other mindless individuals happen to embrace this particular doctrine.

Greenpeace Canada just called from Toronto. Same deal, same info. And by the way, for the umpteenth time, your failure to accept reality does not alter what that reality is!

You're welcome... call again real soon.

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