On what in particular?
Humpback whales are a pretty big thing here. They migrate here in late May-late August feeding on krill. Humpbacks are baleen whales so they basically all swim around a school of krill and make them go to the surface and then one by one the whales break the surface with their mouths open and come right out of the water. They filter all the water back out through the baleen. Baleen was used as a "plastic" before plastic because its durable. Now craftspeople use baleen from already deceased humpbacks to craft hair pieces, jewelry and ornaments. Whale hunting is illegal but biologists follow whale pods and residents report beached/dead whales which are then studied (to find cause of death, which is important for the biologists) and the bones and baleen are extacted by the biologists (my boss does this lol) and crafted. There is a Metis artist in Labrador who works with my boss and he crafts things from the bones and baleen. It's the most beautiful stuff. My boss collects large whale bones and we have them in the shop (our summer door stop is a vertebrae. I should get pics)
Atlantic orca's are becoming more frequent in the waters around here. They're my favorite! Every year more and more orca's are seen around here, and the biologists are trying to find out why. They differ slightly than the orca's in the Pacific ocean and are more similar to the ones up in North. They're studying why the orca's are moving down to the Labrador current for feeding. Orca's are super intelligent- and simply breathtaking to see in the wild. Anybody who supports their captivity and watch them perform in seaworld are miserable f***s. We need to educate people and save the wild pods with all we have.
There are some dolphins here, white beaked and white sided dolphins. I didn't see any but my sister saw them last year and they were performing for the boat and showing off. They're not as "pretty" as bottle nosed dolphins but to their advantage, since they're not being hunted or taken from the wild.
Newfoundland has the world's largest sea bird colony.. Mostly people come to see the puffins and puffins in their breeding colors adorn every souvinir from mugs to paintings to keychains to shirts to jewelry. Puffins are pelagic auks, meaning they spend their lives at sea coming to land to nest. They have short wings and round bodies which makes them weak flyers but powerful swimmers. They sound like cows and when they dive down for fish it's incredible to see. They look like little clowns but they're fairly aggressive. Oh, they also don't look as colorful as in the summer, both males and females grow these eye spots and bright orange beaks. They are just breeding colors which literally fall off in the fall. Both sexes look identical, males are a little rounder in the belly and wings than females.
Newfoundland is home to the worlld's largest colonies of murres (locally called turres), razorbills, storm petrels and North America's largest colony of kittiwakes. Some of these birds are also pelagic, coming to land only to nest. Some of these birds travel from as far as the Antarctic to feed in our waters!
Like I mentioned before, moose outnumber people 4:1. They were introduced 3 times in the mid-late 19th century as a game animal for the hunters living and visiting here. Pretty soon, they established themselves. There are no wolves here or other natural predators so the moose kept growing in numbers. The annual moose hunting licensing does not dent the numbers, and as result, there are hundreds of deaths a year on the highways as moose bolt the roads. They hang around the highways because of their easy clearing and salt.
Arctic fox, snowshoe hare, black bears, red fox, lynx, eagles and beavers are just a small number of the woodland creatures here. Raccoons are more frequently coming in on the boats from the mainland but they're either sent back to the mainland or euthanized- because officials want to keep rabies out of the province as well. We have seen some incidents of rabies but it's only occasional and controlled immediately.
Newfoundland was colonized by English migrant settlers as early as 1610. Newfoundland was used primarily as a seasonal fishing grounds, and every fall the Europeans went back to Europe. Dried cod was the early form of currency and the place was cod central of the world during the 17th-19th centuries. The cod were so heavily fished without regard for the future stocks that in 1990 there was a permanent moratorium on cod fishing. This means, there is no longer a cod fishery. Small licenses are given to locals but our government sold our waters to foreign investments who take what's left. We farm cod and salmon now, and inverts like crab and lobster and mussels. Mussels are a local favorite here. People even eat periwinkles now (which are the small mollusks on rocks who are revealed at low tide). Smaller fisheries exist. In the 18th century (I think), Labrador was one of the largest (If not, THE largest) whale fishery grounds at Battle Harbour. It was here where the waters were bloodied by thousands of different whales, wiping out a few species completely.
The one the world knows most about the Canadian seal hunt which takes place off Newfoundland every year. There is so much bad information and hype surrounding this hunt because of animal rights groups that it has hurt 1. the Newfoundland outports whose subsistence relies on the seal hunt, 2. Craftsmen whose products are boycotted and 3. The seals themselves. The misinformation revolves around hunting practices, which are regulated by the Canadian government and basic info like "babies" are killed (whitecoats being outlawed since the 1980's) and the use of the hakapik (also outlawed, used only to carry the corpses). The seal population suffers because, like the moose, there are no predators in large enough numbers to control them. Orca's LOVE to eat seals, but orca's (as I mentioned above) are only becoming more frequent in the waters as of recent. The hype is all about blood stained ice floes. I think more education needs to be out there on the facts of the hunt, rather than the myths.
Anyway, I talked your faces off long enough. If you want to know more, ask!
Last edited by Laki; 05-07-2013 at 11:20 AM.