National Geographic : 1952 Nov
Porpoise, Mammal That She Is, Gives Birth to Fully Developed Young Four baby porpoises have been born alive at Marineland. This captive, unable to bite the umbilical cord as most warm-blooded animals do, severs it with a quick, jerky whirl. Baby enters the world able to swim, but has to depend on mother for milk and protection (page 685). weeks to tame sufficiently a newly captured porpoise," a Studios scientist explained. "It will then begin to accept food from the attend ant's hand." The inshore porpoises are captured in nets strung in channels between points of land, where the animals feed in tidewaters. The new arrival is carefully transported by sling to the flume, its body kept dampened to pre vent its skin from cracking and to maintain the proper body temperature while out of its natural element. "Although frightened at first," our inform ant continued, "none has ever attempted to bite or otherwise attack the collecting crew." Offshore specimens are captured with a tailgrab, an ingenious and harmless lariat snare. Only a few miles at sea, the collect ing crew sails one of the powerful sea skiffs on a porpoise hunt. The frolicsome animals ap pear, sooner or later, surging along at the boat's prow. It is a tricky maneuver for the collector to thrust the mechanical lasso, with its forcepslike jaws, over the small of the porpoise's body just above the tail. A hem pen line, threaded through the "iron," auto matically forms a double loop. The staff is quickly withdrawn, and the line is snubbed and secured. Then the roped porpoise tows the boat over the ocean. Usu ally wearying in less than half an hour, it is finally drawn alongside.