Grouping Westerns, Whales and Oceans Together is not Weird!

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Release date: May 2019

We are fervently hoping that Saving Our Oceans is close to the final editing stages. Due to our involvement with the annual mule ride we sponsor, we’re grossly behind schedule, but we  plan to pull some long days…and nights…very soon.

There are those who say that our new direction (grouping westerns, whales and oceans together)  isn’t going to work. That’s it’s weird. Makes no sense. I’m too busy to argue with them and will let time be the determiner of that. I admit that the new website (westernswhalesandoceans.com) isn’t yet exactly brimming with visitors and that we closed down our new blog temporarily due to lack of visitors, but our sales have picked up and are ahead of sales a year ago – thank goodness.

This decision to add “whales and oceans” to our “western culture” is not a business decision. It’s a moral decision. We are now part of the Ocean Foundation and have been formally accepted to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. We strongly support the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and the Orca Conservancy. We also love westerns, but westerns are mostly a greatly romanticized history of the past. Whales and oceans are a predictor of the future, which looks pretty grim right now.

I won’t get on my soapbox about the immorality of mercilessly harpooning intelligent, social mammals at this time because I’ve been on that soapbox most of the winter.

As for our western situation…an amazing number of people have been asking if our popular, reclusive author Jere D. James is ever going to write another western. We didn’t hold out much hope for quite a spell, but it looks very promising that Jere will be making a return. Whew. We need that since we’ve decided to keep our main operations in Arizona. Despite our intense interest in orcas and oceans, westerns still rate pretty high with us and most of our readers.

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Dwight Beard – A Western Icon

 

 

A New Species of Orcas? Don’t tell the Whale Killers!

(Photo by J.P. Sylvestre/NOAA)

By now most orca-addicts know that the recent rare sighting of orcas in the subantarctic area of the ocean could signify a new species. Some have heard of this mysterious orca, but very few have ever seen one of these fabled mammals.

There are photos of these orcas that date back to 1955.  A few other photos surfaced in 2005 confirming that these orcas were still alive and hadn’t been made extinct by the Japanese whale slaughter in the southern ocean.

Although an actual orca, these whales do have a different appearance than the orcas most are familiar with. For starters, they’re smaller and have a more rounded head. Most interesting, however, is the very small eye patch they have (compared to the orca eye patch most are familiar with).

Scientists are currently studying bits of whale skin nipped off by darts fired from a crossbow. The dart does no “critical” damage to the whale, and both the dart and the skin can then be retrieved from the water. A genetic analysis will determine how this new orca compares to other killer whales. (I wonder why this is necessary.)

It’s been reported that these smaller orcas are often chased off by the larger ones when both are grabbing fish from fishermen’s nets. If these new whales don’t socialize or breed with the other orcas, that could account for their differing structure and size.

There likely won’t be many whale-watching trips to see these orcas, however, since they live in the 40-50 degree area of the southern ocean. This “Roaring 40s” area is the most violent, storm-prone area in the world since there are no land masses to break up the waves…or the weather. Maybe this distant, formidable habitat will enable them to stand a chance of survival now that they’ve been found!

Can we assure them the right to continue to live harpoon free?

Inhumane Whale Slaughter Increases

00dca-orca2BphotoImmoral. Inhumane. Inexcusable.  These may be the best words to describe the Japanese, Danes (Faroe Islands), Norwegians and  Icelanders who persist in slaughtering whales despite the IWC ban on such activity.

Even though whale meat is in sharp decline, and world opinion finds whale harpooning an act carried out by demonic, barbaric nations, Icelandic authorities, like Japanese authorities, are flexing their muscles and thumbing their noses at world opinion and the IWC’s ban on whaling.

Numerous scientific studies leave no doubt that whales are intelligent mammals who communicate with each other, navigate in ways modern military is unable to master, feel pain and anguish, and care for their young (far better than many people).

Icelandic whalers plans to kill 2000 whales over the next five-year-period, justifying such slaughter by insisting that the number of whales has increased to support a yearly kill of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales every year until 2023.

This almost matches the gut-wrenching 900 orca whales slaughtered by Russia in a one-year period.

It’s difficult to say what drives the blood-lust of nations to allow the merciless slaughter of these gentle giants to continue. World opinion is souring on these nations and this act of cruelty. Even many citizens of the offending nations find the killing of whales to be immoral and reprehensible.

Whaling countries face warranted international condemnation.  Literally tens of thousands of whales have been killed since the whaling ban was put into effect.

(This topic is covered in more detail in the forth coming Saving Our Oceans.)

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Release date: May 2019

Publisher Announces 2018 Sales Report

2018 ended with a bang for Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc.! Despite a summer of dismal sales (probably partially due to no one being in the office for three months) the year actually ended well. “November and December were terrific for sales,” Moonlight Mesa publisher  said. “Actually, almost unbelievable.”

Both the publisher and staff were shocked to see the final 2018 tally on book sales. There were some genuine surprises and some disappointments.

Muley cover          Moonlight Mesa’s top-selling book for 2018 was A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule. This includes copies distributed by Ingram and sold by the publisher. If only Ingram sales are considered, however, Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride, squeezed out A Beginner’s Guide to Owning a Mule at the very tail end of the year, the Tibbs book outselling the mule 9780977459391.MAIN.book by only a few copies.

J.R. Sanders’ Some Gave All  came in third for sales by Ingram, and Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication took fourth.

As for Kindle and other e-book sales, Casey Tibbs and Equine Communication had decent movement. Jere James probably outsold the other two titles, but Jere also has seven books available – plus they are fiction. Not all titles published by Moonlight Mesa are available as ebooks due to photos and file size.

The Old Folks in the Boat fared very poorly. “I knew it wouldn’t be a blockbuster,” 50dfc-oldfolksweb-jpegCoffield said, “but I am truly surprised at how poorly it did. I came within a hair of taking it out of circulation. Another year like this one, and I will.” In fact, the publisher canceled the scheduled book signing at the Seattle Boat Show.

Finally, Moonlight Mesa will no longer be carrying Paula Silici’s yummy western romance, A Way in the Wilderness.  The author has asked for her rights back, and due to Silici’s precarious health situation, Coffield agreed to return the author’s rights – except for a 10% publisher right to any movie rights.

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Release date: May 2019

The plan now is to get Saving Our Oceans completed and uploaded for printing. “We’re close, but there’s still a lot of work to do. It doesn’t help that our beloved cover designer is migrating to Ecuador,” Coffield said. “He insists there will be internet there, but it just won’t be the same.”

Next up will be Lee Anderson’s book, “The View from My Saddle”.  This is Anderson’s second title with Moonlight Mesa. Coffield insists the book will be ready to release in the fall.

 

Captivity Kills

download    Our attention to animal cruelty is often limited. We primarily focus on dogs and horses – maybe cats. We might stress over elephants being mercilessly slaughtered for their tusks, but that’s happening in Africa, too far away to really ensnare our deepest feelings.

PETA keeps us informed of vicious farm workers who brutalize cows, pigs, and chickens, causing some to become vegetarians for humanitarian reasons. But basically, in this country we are probably moved the most by the wrong done to dogs and horses. However, the number of people worldwide who are concerned about the brutality done to whales and dolphins is escalating dramatically.

Not everyone realizes that the killer whale (orca) is actually a very, very large dolphin. So when we fume over the slaughter of whales by the Japanese, the Icelanders, the Faroe Island whale hunters, we tend to forget about the merciless slaughter, sale, and captivity of dolphins primarily by the Japanese.

Shockingly, the Japanese look to be the most brutal killers of whales and dolphins. Regularly the fishermen go on roundups of dolphins, forcing them into Taiji Bay, the notorious killing pen featured in the film The Cove. Often youngsters are separated from their mothers. Some die from shock. Many are killed by the fishermen driving a metal pin into their necks. They slaughter so many the bay runs red with their blood. This is barbarism and animal cruelty at its worst. The dolphins who are not killed are sold – the going price is around $32,000. The world is horrified, and even many Japanese citizens strongly object to this roundup and slaughter.

Who entitled these people to capture an intelligent mammal and sell it? Where is that mammal’s right to exist in its environment, free from enslavement?

Phoenix, Arizona, is the home to Dolphinaris. This desert aquarium featuring dolphins opened several years ago, despite avid protest about the stupidity and cruelty of not only imprisoning dolphins, but in keeping them in the desert. Who could possibly be surprised that four of the dolphins have already died in captivity? Only the operators of Dolphinaris are bewildered.

The last two weeks have seen the death of a young orca held captive in Orlando’s Sea World and the death of another dolphin held captive in an aquarium in Phoenix, Arizona. But don’t worry: the Sea World organization still has 20 orcas to keep them in business for a spell. Recent word is that the company that leases dolphins have taken the remaining live dolphins back from Phoenix’s Dolphinaris. Likely they’ll just send these hapless, intelligent, friendly, caring mammals to be held captive in another tank in another city. And besides, the Japanese will capture many more if these die.

 

 

 

 

 

Our attention to animal cruelty is often limited. We primarily focus on dogs and horses – maybe cats. We might stress over elephants being mercilessly slaughtered for their tusks, but that’s happening in Africa, too far away to really ensnare our deepest feelings. PETA keeps us informed of vicious farm workers who brutalize cows, pigs, and chickens causing some to become vegetarians for humanitarian reasons. But basically, in this country we are probably moved the most by the wrong done to dogs and horses. However, the number of people worldwide who are concerned about whales and dolphins is escalating dramatically.

Not everyone realizes that the killer whale (orca) is actually a very, very large dolphin. So when we fume over the slaughter of whales by the Japanese, the Icelanders, the Faroe Island whale hunters, we tend to forget about the merciless slaughter, sale, and captivity of dolphins primarily by the Japanese.

The Japanese look to be the most brutal killers of whales and dolphins. Regularly the fishermen go on roundups of dolphins, forcing them into Taiji Bay, the notorious killing pen featured in the film The Cove. Often youngsters are separated from their mothers. Some die from shock. Many are killed by the fishermen driving a metal pin into their necks. They slaughter so many the bay runs red with their blood. This is barbarism and animal cruelty at its worst. The dolphins who are not killed are sold – the going price is around $32,000.

Who entitled these people to capture an intelligent mammal and sell it? Where is that mammal’s right to exist in its environment, free from enslavement?

Phoenix, Arizona, is the home to Dolphinaris. This desert aquarium featuring dolphins opened several years ago, despite avid protest about the stupidity and cruelty of not only imprisoning dolphins in a tank, but in keeping them in the desert. Who could possibly be surprised that four of the dolphins have already died in captivity? Only the operators of Dolphinaris are bewildered.

The last two weeks have seen the death of a young orca held captive in a tank in Orlando’s Sea World and the death of another dolphin held captive in an aquarium in Phoenix, Arizona. But don’t worry: the Sea World organization still has 20 orcas to keep them in business for a spell. Recent word is that the company that leases dolphins have taken the remaining live dolphins back from Phoenix’s Dolphinaris. Likely they’ll just send these hapless, intelligent, friendly, caring mammals to be held captive in another tank in another city. And besides, the Japanese will capture many more if these die.

 

 

 

 

 

How Many More Must Die?

How many more must die?

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SeaWorld recently announced the death of Kayla, a 30-year-old orca, who apparently died of “unknown causes” after handlers noticed her not feeling well for two days. Orcas can live to be 90 or better if left in the wild. A necropsy will be performed to see what made Kayla fall ill and die. Perhaps if someone with a bit of sensitivity and half-witted intelligence at SeaWorld recognized that these creatures are  not meant to be imprisoned in tanks and forced into performing for crowds unaware of orcas’ keen intelligence and sensitivity, Kayla would still be alive.

There are still 20 whales in captivity remaining in SeaWorld parks. Five are held captive in Orlando, five in San Antonio, and ten are in San Diego. Likely they will all die unnatural deaths too.

An organization with even half a heart would release these orcas to a sanctuary where they could be rehabilitated back to the environment they’ve been denied. At worst they’d remain in a natural sanctuary, not a tank. But that’s not the way the do busine$$.  How many more must die? (Information from http://www.10TV.com/article/30-year-old-orca-dies-seaworld-orlando-park)

Even more appalling, however, is the captivity of 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales in Russia’s remote  eastern area. These animals are in danger of freezing to death when their pens ice over and temperatures drop to subarctic levels. Once the orcas start developing frost bite they will die. If an orca’s dorsal fin (which regulates its temperature) freezes, the mammal can easily succumb to the cold.

These animals were captured last summer with the plan of selling them to China for their dolphinariums/aquariums. The whales are being cruelly held in a tiny area. China has plans for over 60 “aquariums” and is buying dolphins from the Japanese and apparently whales from Russia.

According to the Independent, a British publication, activists have been lobbying Vladimire Putin for the animals’ release. They have seen one of the orcas whose fin is “peeling off in large, flapping chunks.” This whale and others have already developed frostbite.

The observed sick whale is “…completely inactive, looks sick and floating motionless for long periods. His breathing is very slow and ‘gentle,’ which can be a sign of pneumonia or other diseases of internal organs.” Other orcas have skin lesions that are likely due to fungal diseases from being kept in such small, confined pens.

There is no doubt that the orcas are also suffering extreme stress due to the heavy equipment and noise around the area.

The capture and torment of such intelligent, sensitive, social mammals absolutely must be stopped. It’s difficult to believe that a leader such as Vladimir Putin, who supposedly regards wildlife very highly, would allow this kind of abuse to take place.

SeaWorld has 20 orcas still in captivity. Russia holds 11 orcas and 87 beluga whales captive. Japan is commencing the commercial slaughter of whales in July despite world-wide protest and condemnation.

How many more must die?

(Information from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/killer-whales-orcas-belugas-captive-russia-china-okhotsk-vladivostok-a8748066.html)

It’s Time to Enact the Rights of Nature

3167e-SOOpc2B2BjpegRecent headlines forewarned that two more Southern Resident orcas appear to be dying of malnutrition. That will leave the pod ever closer to extinction with only 72 whales remaining. It’s way past time for this government, for every government in the world, to enact the “Rights of Nature.”

“Rights of Nature is the recognition and honoring that Nature has rights. It is the recognition that our ecosystems – including trees, oceans, animals, mountains – have rights just as human beings have rights. Rights of Nature is about balancing what is good for human beings against what is good for other species, what is good for the planet as a world. It is the holistic recognition that all life, all ecosystems on our planet are deeply intertwined” (therightsofnature.org/what-is-rights-of-nature/.)

“It’s Likely There Aren’t More Than 411 Right Whales Left, New Estimate Finds.” Headlines like this are dismaying. According to WBUR News, “The calculation is based on a trove of statistical data, observations of individual animals and a wave of observed mortalities, with no newborn whales observed in the most recent calving season.” The cause of this decline appears to be the gear used by Maine lobstermen that entangles the whales.

Let’s not overlook the whale that washed ashore in eastern Indonesia with approximately 115 plastic cups, flip flops and plastic bags in its stomach.

The number of dead whales is increasing in most areas of the world. Even Scotland and Ireland had an “Unprecedented Number of Dead Whales” (Cuvier’s beaked whales) wash up on their shores. Scientists say that the 80 dead whales might actually indicate that up to 1,000 of the Cuvier’s beaked whales actually died.

The Cuvier beaked whale is a deep diver, going as low as 9500 feet for up to two hours to hunt for food. This particular whale is very sensitive to loud sounds, and it’s speculated that anti-submarine sonar caused such intense pain to the whales that they surfaced too quickly. “Anti-submarine sonar isn’t used by Irish warships, but it is used by the U.S. Navy and by Britain’s navy,” Simon Berrow, a marine biologist said. Not surprisingly, neither group admits to being in the area using anti-submarine sonar.

For some reason, nearly 200 pilot whales died after stranding on a New Zealand beach. 149 died one day with another 50 the following day. Strandings apparently are a common phenomenon on New Zealand shores, according to “Up to 145 Pilot Whales Dead After Mass stranding on New Zealand Beach.” What causes these strandings? Pollution? Military sonar? Submarine activity? Warmer water?

“Torture of Russian whale jail as 100 Orcas and Belugas captured in Pacific Bay,” a dismaying article in The Telegraph by Alex Luhn felt like a slap in the face. I thought the crime of capturing whales for aquariums was over. Apparently not when the Chinese are in the market.

In 2018, 100 orca and beluga whales were (and possibly still are) being illegally held in a bay near Nakhodka in Russia and were/are to be  sold to the Chinese for their booming ocean theme park industry in China. There are already over 60 marine parks in China, according to Alec Luhn of Moscow for The Telegraph (British paper).  The Chinese plan for at least a dozen more ocean parks.

Supposedly Russia is investigating this, but Russia is also believed to be the only country that exports orcas captured in the wild, according to Luhn.

Since the “jail” is quite small, this suggests that many of the captured orcas are babies. Other reports say the whales are being tortured. For every orca captured, however, at least another is killed in the process. Jailers don’t seem to care since an orca can fetch up to $6 million dollars. This activity flies in the face of the 1982 moratorium against whaling: the only whaling allowed is for scientific purposes (that sounds quite lame) or for those with aboriginal “cultural” needs (another fairly lame sounding excuse taken advantage of by the Japanese who have killed over 1,000,000 whales and dolphins).

“Catching them at this tempo, we risk losing our entire orca population,” according to Oganes Targulyan, a Greenpeace Russia research coordinator.

And now the Japanese are on the hunt again. Their past history of whaling does not inspire trust or confidence. But the Japanese are certainly not the only ones to decimate aquatic populations. Unsustainable fishing practices are now the bane of the oceans. Just this week a blue fine tuna, a threatened species, sold for $3,000,000 for sushi! As the population grows, the population of fish diminishes.

In September of 2008 Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize rights for nature in its constitution. Bolivia is in the process of implementing laws that also recognize certain rights for nature. More than two dozen communities in the U.S. have adopted laws that recognize the rights of nature. The first major municipality to do so was the City of Pittsburgh in 2010.

It’s time.

(Material in this blog is from Saving Our Oceans. Release date is May 2019.)