Roy Sasano, Sea Shepherd Drone Pilot on Operation Milagro II, and the Effects of Fireworks on Animals

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Roy Sasano, Helping to Protect the Most Endangered Marine Mammal

Roy Sasano at work on Operation Milagro II

Roy Sasano at work on Operation Milagro II. Photo credit Andrew Wegst.

This week, we are honoured to welcome Sea Shepherd drone pilot, Roy Sasano in studio to discuss his recent involvement with the campaign “Operation Milagro II” (Operation Miracle) which took place in the Sea of Cortez from the Fall of 2015-Spring 2016.

Operation Milagro II, with their crew aboard vessels, the “Martin Sheen” and the “Farley Mowat”, aims at protecting the world’s smallest and rarest cetacean and the most endangered marine mammal in the world, the Vaquita Porpoise, whose population is estimated to be less than 95, 25 of whom are believed to be reproductive females.

The vaquita only inhabit the waters of the upper gulf of California, and despite the Mexican government’s two-year moratorium on gill net fishing in their protected habitat, they are near-extinction. Gill net fishing poses the largest threat to the vaquita, and the habitat of their habitat is surrounded by three fishing villages. The vaquita become trapped in the nets meant for catching the Totoaba fish, nicknamed the “Cocaine of the Sea” for the value of their swim bladders to the Chinese market, fetching $5000/pound.

Sea Shepherd is partnering with the government of Mexico to protect the waters of the vaquita refuge, patrol for poachers, document issues facing the endangered cetacean, and to collect vital data to share with the scientific community. Sea Shepherd also conducts outreach in the region, meeting with marine biologists, researchers and other NGOs working locally to save the vaquita.

How Are People, Animals and the Environment Affected by Fireworks?

dogBeing the week after Canada Day, the fireworks are still in some of our minds. Jen, our host this week, had a friend whose cat ran away and was killed by a coyote on the night of the fireworks and she is seeking a bylaw change to protect pets.

We discuss the effect of fireworks on animals, overcrowded and under-staffed animal shelters, people with PTSD and health concerns, wildlife, as well as more humane alternatives being utilized by a town in Italy, where a by-law only allows for “silent fireworks” to respect animals’ sensitivities.


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