Category Archives: Animals

Great White Sharks Baby Boom May Be Underway In Monterey Bay

MOSS LANDING, Monterey County (KPIX 5) — Great white sharks are known as fearsome predators, but in the Monterey Bay there is more fascination than fear over what may be a great white shark baby boom.

Great white shark sightings have been on the rise in the waters of Monterey Bay, but what’s unusual this year are the high number of juvenile or younger sharks being spotted.

That’s leading to speculation that the bay might be not only a breeding ground, but also some sort of a shark nursery.

You’re unlikely to see them from the shoreline, but Monterey Bay helicopter pilot Chris Gularte says from his perspective 1000 feet up, it’s easy to see what some are calling a population explosion of great white sharks.

“Recently we’ve been seeing really big sharks, and then a little baby,” said Gularte.

Gularte has been flying sightseeing trips over Monterey Bay for decades. In recent weeks, he and others have been seeing up to 60 sharks on a single flight.

“And what we’ve been seeing has been developing into what really looks like the great white sharks have been having their babies in the Monterey Bay, which is super, super cool,” said Gularte.

Little is known about how and where great white sharks give birth, but if true, his would be the farthest north a great white shark nesting area has been discovered.

Gularte says the sharks seem unusually docile around humans out in the water. He’s hoping state and federal scientists begin tagging and tracking the great whites in the area, so everyone can learn more.

“Up to 60 great white sharks, mixing with surfers and kayakers and all this stuff and it’s all on the shoreline here,” said Gularte. “You see the little babies, and you see the big ones and no one is getting attacked in that zone. No one is getting a shark bite. And so, why?”

Shark watchers say that right now we are at the peak of the observation season and that the number of sightings will probably start decreasing by the end of November.

Since 1950, California has averaged three to four shark attacks per year, but even with with the population increase, an expert at Moss Landing Marine Labs says the risk keeps going down.

 

Proposition 12 Passes, The AP Projects

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Proposition 12 has passed, the Associated Press has predicted. As a result, there will be new minimum requirements on farmers to provide more space for egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and calves raised for veal. California businesses will be banned from selling eggs or uncooked pork or veal that came from animals housed in ways that did not meet these requirements.

It also bans the sales from other states not meeting California’s standards.

California voters are right to think they already weighed in on how big cages should be for egg-laying hens.

In 2008, voters ushered in Proposition 2, which sought to free egg-laying hens from tiny cages. It didn’t outlaw cages but barred California farmers from keeping hens — as well as calves raised for veal and breeding pigs — in pens so small they virtually couldn’t move.

Since then, supermarket shelves have filled with cage-free egg varieties. Corporations like McDonald’s, Costco and Taco Bell have committed to using cage-free products.

But a decade later, voters revisited the issue with Proposition 12, the Farm Animal Confinement Initiative.

The Humane Society of the United States, the issue’s primary proponent, says the measure is needed to update California standards and to apply those standards to out-of-state farmers selling their products in California. The earlier initiative simply stated the three types of animals must be able to turn around freely, stand up and fully extend their limbs — but set no specifics.

1,000 Brooding Octopuses Found Off Monterey Coast

MONTEREY (AP) — Scientists exploring the sea floor off the coast of central California found more than 1,000 octopuses tucked between rocks with their tentacles inverted and covering clusters of white eggs —a pose common among brooding females.

Ocean Exploration Trust biologists made the discovery last week nearly 2 miles (3 kilometers) below the surface off the coast of Monterey.

The cluster of octopuses glowing in the dark was captured on Oct. 23 by a submersible’s camera during the first dive of the Nautilus, a vessel exploring the Davidson Seamount in NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Researchers say this kind of aggregation of deep-sea octopuses has been reported only once before, when a smaller group of about 100 were spotted brooding eggs in the ocean off Costa Rica.

© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Man Rescued After Getting Bitten By Shark Near Farallon Islands

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A man was rescued Tuesday afternoon after suffering a shark bite near the Farallon Islands west of San Francisco, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The bite was near his hand or wrist. He was rescued around 1 p.m. and transported via helicopter from San Francisco to Stanford Hospital.

A Coast Guard official did not know what the man was doing when he was bitten.

Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm identified the person bitten as Ron Elliott, a commercial diver and documentary filmmaker who is featured in a new film called “Near Miss” about his encounter with a great white shark off the Farallones last year.

Schramm said a passing boat picked him up and then a Coast Guard chopper took him to the Stanford hospital emergency room. Ellliot was seen walking from the chopper to the ER, according to Schramm.

Schramm said Elliott is a legend around the sanctuary. She got word Tuesday afternoon about the attack.

“Our first thought was that we hope it wasn’t Ron Elliott,” said Schramm. “Apparently, he was bitten on the hand and forearm and then evacuated by boat and helicopter down to Stanford. And he was seen leaving the helicopter on his own steam.”

Elliott has been the subject of at least three documentaries in recent years. One by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows him combining his two great passions: diving and taking pictures of sea life.

NOAA says Elliott has often been a guide for scientists and others who want to navigate the beautiful but treacherous waters of the Farallone Islands.

“Every time a human goes swimming around here or goes surfing off Ocean Beach they are in a shark’s habitat during the fall months,” said Schramm. “So we know Ron. We know he’s not trying to make the sharks do anything except be themselves, essentially, and he’s in a good position. He’s extremely passive in his cinematography approach. So he’s not a person who’s disrupting their behavior.”

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

Man Who Burned Dog Alive Sentenced To More Than 6 Years In Prison

SALINAS (CBS SF) — A Soledad man has been sentenced to more than six years in prison after pleading no contest to three felony charges related to burning a dog alive, Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo announced Thursday.

Devonte Sirwet, 22, pleaded no contest in September to first-degree residential burglary, arson and felony animal abuse, prosecutors said.

pit bull Man Who Burned Dog Alive Sentenced To More Than 6 Years In Prison

The pit bull which was stolen from a home and later found severely burned. (SPCA of Monterey County)

He received a prison sentence of six years and eight months, the maximum allowed under the law for the charges.

In December of 2017, Sirwet was kicked out of his mother’s home because of substance abuse and anger issues.

On March 27, he returned to the home, snuck inside and took Kato, the family dog, prosecutors said.

A short time later, a witness heard what he described as a terrible screaming sound and saw Sirwet pour bottles of lighter fluid on Kato and set the dog on fire.

Sirwet then fled in a vehicle, leaving the dog to burn alive.

Officers with the Soledad Police Department arrived at the scene and found Kato alive but suffering from severe burns over 90 percent of his body.

Kato was taken to veterinarian and was euthanized to end his suffering.

“The pain and terror this poor dog endured must have been unimaginable,” SPCA for Monterey County spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said in a statement at the time. “No living being should ever suffer like that.”

Deadly Disease Outbreak Threatening Bay Area Sea Lions

SAUSALITO (CBS SF) — A major outbreak of a deadly disease has sickened more than 200 seas lions along the Northern California coast, the Marine Mammal Center announced Tuesday.

Officials at the center said it was the second largest outbreak of leptospirosis in California sea lions in its recorded history. This year, 220 sea lions at the Marin Headlands-based center have tested positive for the bacterial infection, which affects their kidneys.

Outbreaks of the potentially fatal infection typically occur every four to five years, according to Dr. Shawn Johnson, director of veterinary science at the center.

The last outbreak in 2011 led to the admittance of nearly 200 sea lion patients to the center’s hospital. The center has been collecting records, blood and urine samples for more than four decades.

“Our long history of rehabilitation and commitment to scientific research allows us to see the disease patterns over multiple decades and better respond to these types of events,” Johnson said in a statement.

Though sea lions diagnosed with leptospirosis are treated with antibiotics and other supportive care, roughly two-thirds of the animals with the infection do not survive.

Other animal species, including humans and dogs, can become infected with the bacteria through contact with contaminated urine, water and soil.

Officials at the center urge the public to maintain a safe distance of at least 50 feet from marine mammals and to keep their dogs away.

They can also call the center’s 24-hour hotline at (415) 289-7325 to report any sick marine mammals. To donate to help the center treat current sea lion patients, people can visit MarineMammalCenter.org/donate.

Idaho Fish & Game Official Under Fire For Photos Of Animals Killed In Hunt

(CBS News) — An Idaho Fish and Game official has come under fire after emailing friends and co-workers photos of a family of baboons and other animals he shot and killed on a hunting trip in Africa. A group of former commissioners is now calling for Blake Fisher to resign, CBS Boise affiliate KBOI reports.

Fischer emailed photos of himself posing with a dead baboon family – including a baby – as well as a giraffe, a leopard, and other animals he killed on a recent trip to Namibia. Fischer went on a two-week trip to the African country with his wife. “First day she wanted to watch me, and ‘get a feel’ of Africa,” Fischer said in the email. “So I shot a whole family of baboons.”

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Fischer bragged about killing a family of baboons and sent a photo of the dead animals — including a baby in its mothers arms — to coworkers.

 OBTAINED BY KBOI THROUGH GOVERNOR BUTCH OTTER’S OFFICE

Fischer’s emails, obtained by KBOI through Governor Butch Otter’s office, include photos of a giraffe, leopard, impala, antelope and waterbuck Fischer killed. Fischer described his kills in emails that went to about 125 people. “I shot a Leopard,” he wrote. “Super cool, super lucky. The Leopard is one of the big 5, as in one of the 5 animals in Africa that will kill you before you can kill it. Crazy cool animal. They are normally super nocturnal, so this was really unique.”

The photos received swift backlash and were reported to the governor’s office. “Governor Otter was briefed and has seen the pictures,” Jon Hanian, the governor’s spokesman, told KBOI. “He has expressed concern about them and we’re looking into the situation.”

The Idaho Statesman newspaper, which first reported the story Friday, obtained an email from former commissioner Fred Trevey urging Fischer to resign.

“My reaction to the photo and accompanying text of you smiling and holding a ‘family’ of primates you killed, dismays and disappoints me,” Trevey said, according to KBOI. “I have a difficult time understanding how a person privileged to be an Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner can view such an action as sportsmanlike and an example to others.”

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Fischer sent several photos of animals he killed to about 125 people.

 OBTAINED BY KBOI THROUGH GOVERNOR BUTCH OTTER’S OFFICE

Former commissioner Tony McDermott also sent an email to the governor’s office, saying he and six other former commissioners agree with “Trevey’s approach to this potentially explosive issue,” according to the Statesman.

CBS News has reached out to Bill Fischer, Fred Trevey, and Idaho Fish and Game with a requests for interviews.

Steve Alder, executive director of Idaho For Wildlife, a pro-hunting group, told KBOI that Fischer’s hunts were despicable. “What bothers me is he’s got the family there and a little baby baboon sitting there with blood all over it, kind of like in the mother’s arms,” Alder said. “You just don’t do this. It’s just not something. We don’t want to put out to the public and many of us wouldn’t even do this in the first place.”