Seattle Seahawks Join In Celebration Of Granny, World’s Oldest Killer Whale
Their season is over, but we all need to take a moment to thank the Seattle Seahawks for this. In a time when NFL fan bases are sharpening pitchforks and dabbing torches in petrol for assaults on the administrative offices (Oakland, San Diego ... and what the hell, San Francisco), here's a great example of a franchise that's aware of the greater community that supports it.
The Seahawks are joining the Whale Museum and the Center For Whale Research in remembering Granny (J-2), the 105-year-old Orca matriarch that died earlier this month. And they are urging their fans to do the same. From the Seahawks:
The Whale Museum plans to contribute a permanent exhibit in Granny’s honor, so individuals can learn about the lives she touched over the years. Fans are encouraged to make a donation to the non-profit organization by visiting their donation site, where funds will go toward supporting the group’s education and research programs.
The town of Friday Harbor, Washington will team with The Whale Museum to host a community potluck in Granny’s honor from 1-4 p.m. on Sunday, February 12, when stories of Granny will be shared. The get together is free to attend.
— The Whale Museum (@TheWhaleMuseum) January 19, 2017
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) January 20, 2017
Granny was the matriarch of a pod of orcas in the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of Seattle and Vancouver in the area known as the Salish Sea. Estimated to already have been in her 60s when researches first began tracking her in the early 1970s, Granny was believed to be 105 years old when she went missing last month. (For orcas, that usually means they are deceased -- especially for the matriarch of a group).
Granny's age was a reminder of how long orcas can thrive in the wild. By comparison, captive orcas, such as those kept by SeaWorld, have never lived past 45 years, and the average age of killer whales in captivity is only 13.
There is currently a huge push by activists and the public to end orca shows at amusement parks, and SeaWorld in San Diego has at least in part complied. Taking orcas from the wild has been banned in the U.S. since 1980 -- but many parks still have captive breeding programs. That means that some orcas have never seen the open ocean. Or, in the case of Tilikum, an orca that died at SeaWorld in Florida last week at the age of 36, have spent nearly their entire lives in a tiny concrete tank.
The Salish Sea orcas, which lost 65 percent of their population to orca show theme parks in the 1960s and early 70s, were given endangered species status in the 1990s. But with the new Trump administration threatening to roll back the Endangered Species Act to help logging and oil company concerns, that could change.
Anyway, I just became a Seahawks fan -- and hope all of you follow suit. Because we need to save the orcas, if for no other reason than to ensure that Richard Sherman only has the second-biggest mouth in Seattle.
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