Cousteau talks of killer whales on KUOW

On January 31, 2011, Michel Cousteau was a guest on Steve Scher’s Weekday show on KUOW. Though he was talking generally about how our actions (even far inland) affect the oceans, he ended up talking extensively about killer whales. He proved himself quite knowledgeable about resident killer whales (especially 5:00-8:00 and 25:30- 27:30).

As an acoustician, my favorite quote was:

“It’s all sound, all communication. See, our primary sense is vision. Their primary sense is acoustic because sound travels very well underwater, unlike in the air. And you know, for dogs it’s smell. For us it’s vision. For them it’s sound. That’s how they find each other. That’s how they find food. That’s how they find their way…”

Near 26:00 he talks about the potential extinction of southern residents, but failed to articulate how we might save them. Instead of talking about amending NW and Canadian salmon populations (as NOAA suddenly is doing), banning and cleaning up PBDEs, PCBs, and DDTs, and mitigating vessel interactions, he took off on a discussion of sewage and plastic bags.

Another highlight (at ~36:00) was the comment from Libby Palmer of the Port Townsend Marine Science Center about the transient killer whale skeleton they are preparing for exhibition. That led Cousteau to discuss fire retardants and make the good suggestion that orca contamination should be associated with human contamination to enhance public awareness of the problems and solutions.

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