New Narwhal Discovery – They Stun Prey With Their Tusk! Learn More at a Screening of The Narwhal’s Wake at The Explorer’s Club – May 31st, 2017 in NYC

Inuit have long attested that narwhal also use their tusk to tap and stun fish before eating them and recent video footage has verified that knowledge in a first for western science.
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A NARWHAL ABOUT TO STUN A FISH WITH ITS TUSK.
Arctic expedition videographer Adam Ravetch captured the footage of narwhal stunning and feeding on Arctic Char with the help of an aerial drone camera on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund Canada expedition.
“As soon as they saw the playback on the small screen, they knew something interesting was happening and definitely needed to be checked out further,” said Brandon Laforest, a senior specialist in Arctic species and ecosystems for WWF-Canada. Upon further reviewing the footage below, scientists were able to verifiably confirm that narwhals do indeed also use their tusks as a fish stunner, oftentimes idly swimming through a school of char and lightly bopping the fish with their 3 meter long tooth before swimming up to and eating the fish.
Narwhal primarily live in Baffin Bay – a large body of water between Greenland and northern Canada in the Arctic – where they seasonally migrate from the south in the winter to the northern reaches of the Arctic in the summer. The elusive and rare whales are often difficult to study given the remote region that they live in. But a number of studies have been mounted over the past couple of decades to decode the mysteries of this anomalous species.
Dr. Martin Nweeia, Harvard Professor of Dentistry and fellow of The Explorer’s Club and The Smithsonian Institute, has been studying the fascinating tooth for almost two decades during numerous Arctic Expeditions involving live capture of narwhals. His theory, and experiments attest, is that the tooth is also a sensory organ as it has millions of tiny holes that allow the animal to ‘see’ the chemical components of the water, as well as the temperature, allowing them to navigate in the cold, dark waters of the Arctic.
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The tooth has hundreds of thousands of receptors that lead to the center of the tooth and nerve fibers that feed directly into their brain just above their auditory cortex. The theory is that they can ‘sense’ the salinity and temperature of the water allowing them to navigate from the sea floor, narwhals are the second deepest diving whales, back up to holes in the ice, called polynyas, allowing them to breath.
Dr. Nweeia is giving a talk on the characteristics of the narwhal’s tooth on May 31st at 6pm at The Explorer’s Club in Manhattan along with Dr. Christopher Clark, marine bioacoustics expert and star of the National Resource Defense Council’s Sonic Sea, after a screening of The Narwhal’s Wake, a feature documentary film currently in production. The film focuses on narwhals and the dangers they are facing from Arctic oil exploration that uses seismic cannons to map the subseafloor for hydrocarbons. These cannons emit the second loudest man-made noise, only after the detonation of an atomic bomb, at 160 decibels every ten seconds, 24 hours a day, for the next five years as Baffin Bay is fully mapped. For more information, and to attend the screening and talks, go to The Explorer’s Club listing of the event.
These new discoveries are thanks to Inuit concerns regarding the future of the species and working in conjunction with western scientists to learn more about the migration patterns, social behaviors, and physiological makeup of these rare whales, often referred to as, ‘the unicorns of the sea.’
If you’re in New York City this week don’t miss this chance to have more mysteries of the narwhal revealed.

Greenpeace and Actress Emma Thompson to Join Jerry Natanine in Clyde River to Save Narwhals

GREENPEACE CANADA
Protesters Hold Banner in Solidarity with Clyde River – Residents are fighting a dangerous form of oil exploration that uses deafening Seismic Cannons to search for oil in Baffin Bay – Home to 90% of narwhals, ‘the unicorn of the sea.’

Clyde River, Nunavut. This small hamlet, population 1,100, is at the epicenter of an international effort to stop a dangerous type of oil exploration in the Arctic called Seismic Cannon Mapping. Their primary concern is the well-being of the narwhal, a rare and threatened whale that primarily resides in Baffin Bay and is the origin of the myth of the unicorn.

A planned oil exploration survey of the entirety of Baffin Bay has been opposed by Inuit of Clyde River. Led by former Mayor Jerry Natanine, the Clyde River Solidarity Network (Greenpeace Canada, Amnesty International, Idle No More, Council of Canadians,Mining Injustice Social Network, and author and activist Naomi Klein and Actresses Emma Thompson and Lucy Lawless have signed a statement of support) asserts that the seismic cannon mapping proposed by a Norwegian consortium of companies Multi Klient Invest/TGS/PGS has been expressly refused consent by Inuit. Furthermore, Clyde River haslegitimate concerns that seismic cannons threaten the marine wildlife and the fragile ecosystem that 80-90% of narwhals inhabit.

GREENPEACE CANADA
A Seismic Survey Vessels detonates its cannons underwater. The blasts are 240 decibels and are the second loudest man-made noise only after the detonation of an atomic bomb. The blasts go off every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for the next 5 years.

 Led by Jerry Natanine, Clyde River challenged the Canadian National Energy Board’s approval of the survey in July of 2015 – the board ruled unanimously in favor of the survey amidstwidespread opposition. This year, in a rare move, the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear the case for protecting Baffin Bay from sonic blasts on November 30th.

GREENPEACE CANADA
Arctic Campaign Lead Farrah Khan and former mayor of Clyde River Jerry Natanine look on as the Captain of the Greenpeace Icebreaker ‘Arctic Sunrise’ plots a course for Clyde River.

 In the meantime Greenpeace Canada is mobilizing their icebreaking ship, The Arctic Sunrise, on a peaceful protest training mission to Clyde River with Actress Emma Thompson accompanying former mayor Jerry Natanine. The mission is to raise awareness around the planned seismic mapping of Baffin Bay, install solar panels on the roof of the community center, and to host a training session with the residents of Clyde River demonstrating peaceful protest methods and flotilla organizing in case the cannons start shooting the Arctic waters.

GREENPEACE CANADA
Arctic Sunrise crew and guests travel through Baffin Bay, on August 14th, 2016. The ship is bound Clyde River, Nunavut, where she will deliver solar panels for the community. Mayor of Clyde River, James Qillaq (L), former mayor of Clyde River, Jerry Natanine, JerryÕs daughter, Clara Natanine, Deckhand of the Arctic Sunrise, Victor Pickering and Medic of the Arctic Sunrise, Valeriy Kharchenko during a RHIB training exercise in Baffin Bay.

GREENPEACE CANADA
Actress Emma Thompson meets with residents of Clyde River, Nunavut.

 The expedition will begin installation of solar panels on the community center, peaceful protest training sessions, and flotilla safety protocols this week. Emma Thompson and her daughter have arrived and met with residents and are sitting in on the training sessions. The goal of the expedition is to primarily train residents of Clyde River to have effective tools of protest in order to be heard by the Canadian government and international media while also bolstering their self-sufficiency and sustainability through solar generated power.

THE CANADIAN PRESS
Clyde River is located on Baffin Island in the Arctic Circle and is separated from Greenland by Baffin Bay, home to 80-90% of Earth’s narwhals.

Located at the 70th parallel longitude within the Arctic Circle, Clyde River is at the northwestern part of Baffin Island on the eastern coast of Canada and separated by Baffin Bay from Greenland. It’s a remote and frigid area of the world that not that many people visit. But there’s a robust wilderness that supports an amazing biodiversity that Inuit depend upon for their survival.

GREENPEACE CANADA
A pod of narwhal, monodon monoceros, swim in the Arctic.

 Baffin Bay is home to ninety percent of monodon monoceros, ‘the unicorn of the sea,’ or narwhal. These rare whales migrate up and down the shores of Baffin Bay, feeding on Arctic Char near the North Pole in the winter and squid and shrimp when they summer in more southern waters. They are the second deepest diving whale, up to a mile and a half, and swim upside down while feeding. But the most fascinating aspect of the narwhal is their tusk: a ten foot long tooth that protrudes from their upper lip and guides their underwater foraging.

IAN ROWAN
The final tapestry in the ‘La Dame à la licorne,’ or ‘The Lady and the Unicorn.’

 This is the tooth of legend. Literally. The myth of the origin of the unicorn has been traced back to Vikings that hunted narwhals in the Arctic Circle. They brought back the horns and sold them to southern Europeans who wouldn’t reveal what animal they were from nor where they caught them in order to preserve the secrecy of the Viking fishing grounds. Lore soon built up around these horns, even the Queen of England paid the equivalent of a castle to purchase one, and the legend of the horse with a horn was born. Crushed up narwhal, or ‘unicorn’ horn, was said to protect those that ingested it from being poisoned by anything. That only a virgin maiden alone in the forest could attract a unicorn before hunters could capture it – indeed, the famousThe Lady and the Unicorn tapestries are based on the legends built around the very real, though unknown at that time, narwhal of the Arctic.

The narwhal’s habitat is almost solely Baffin Bay – the other 10% of narwhal are on the eastern coast of Greenland and Svalbard – so they are intricately linked to the underwater ecosystem. There is much evidence to show that seismic surveys are linked to deafness, stranding, beachings, and the deaths of narwhals and other whales. In an open letter to President Obama over fifty marine biologists and scientists have urged him to ban seismic surveys off of the coasts of the U.S. The dangers are real and the future of the species that spawned the legend of the unicorn is at risk of becoming a legend itself.

GREENPEACE CANADA
View of a Pod of Narwhal Entrapped in Ice.

For More Information go to: www.TheNarwhalsWake.Film

Like www.Facebook.com/TheNarwhalsWake

And if you’d like more people to learn about narwhals and the dangers that they are facing support The Narwhal’s Wake Arctic Expedition Kickstarter Campaign.

Learn about Greenpeace’s efforts to help the residents of Clyde River, save the narwhals, and protect the Arctic sign the petition at Arctic Home.

 

By: Ian Q. Rowan Writer, Filmmaker, Photographer

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