Thursday, October 30, 2008

Phocoena cetus

The Angolan monk porpoise, a truly one-of-a-kind species, is now critically endangered. With its unmistakable lantern-like eyes and patterned, glowing underside, the Angolan monk porpoise is the only known marine mammal with bioluminescent features. Its rostral filament, equipped with a photophoric lure, has yet to be properly researched and is unique in all deep-sea cetaceans. Until recently, the species has thrived by using this growth to attract its foremost prey: the famously nearsighted Lesser neonback shortfin squid. But in the past five years, the sub-photic regions of the Atlantic nearest to the African coast have been subject to explosive releases of giant air bubbles from hydrothermal vents — a phenomenon nicknamed “the uncola effect” by geologists who admit to not fully understanding its cause. The resulting sonic disturbances reach amplitudes unendurable for a porpoise’s ears. This has driven the animals away from their principal habitat and main food source. As a result, the Angolan monk porpoise population is declining rapidly, and
a calf's chances of reaching reproductive age is roughly one in five.

But the Angolan monk porpoises can be saved. A successful method has been documented in trial CCIS treatment-and-release programs. It involves recycled silicone, specially molded plugs, and you. To find out what you can do to help, please click on the yellow krill.

From: CCIS (Cetacean Conservation International Society) website. Retrieved on 2008-09-13.