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Pete Thomas
Solana Beach, California
Former Los Angeles Times outdoors reporter; now writes for this website, GrindTv.com and Yahoo homepage
Interests: Outdoor activities, reading, good food, beer and wine
Recent Activity
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Téa Megill mans her booth at the Honolulu Zoo By Pete Thomas When Téa Megill learned during a trip to the Honolulu Zoo last summer that elephants may be headed toward extinction, the 10-year-old wanted to help. She opened a neighborhood lemonade stand to raise money for the fight against poaching in Africa, in what at first seemed merely an admirable gesture. But it has become much more than a gesture. The Honolulu sixth-grader has since been allowed to move her stand inside the zoo, where she also sells homemade bracelets and other items to conservation-minded visitors. So far Téa... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Humpback whales off Sydney. Photo via Cronulla-National Surfing Reserve By Pete Thomas Surfers are accustomed to dolphins appearing in the lineup, but much larger whales? The top image shows the dauntingly close proximity of two humpback whales to surfers off Cronulla Beach on Saturday in Sydney, Australia. “A few whales sliding past the crew this morning,” reads a post on the Cronulla-National Surfing Reserve Facebook page. Humpback ehale off Sydney. Photo via Cronulla-National Surfing Reserve The surfers, although tightly grouped and gazing mostly in the direction of the whales, don’t seem overly concerned. The image has been shared widely in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Fishing became secondary for a group of Southern California anglers Thursday after they encountered a massive great white shark feeding on a gray whale carcass. The accompanying footage, captured near the San Clemente Pier, shows the scarred predator swimming just off the stern of the 23-foot fishing boat, and moments later sinking its teeth into the whale. (It’s not known how the whale died, but whale carcasses often attract sharks.) The anglers were part of an AllWater Charters expedition out of Dana Point. Allwater posted the video on Instagram and Marc Levine, the company’s owner, shared the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Five years ago, Chip Michalove and his angling clients reeled in a tiger shark that measured 12-plus feet and weighed an estimated 1,000 pounds. On Tuesday, the Outcast Sport Fishing captain caught and released the same shark in the same area off Hilton Head, S.C., despite improbable odds of this ever happening. In fact, this is at least the third time the same tiger shark has been caught. In 2013, Michalove attached a small tag to the shark. Last year, the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources attached a larger satellite tag to the same shark. (Second... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Blue whale at processing plant. Photo: Arne Feuerhahn/Hard to Port By Pete Thomas Iceland’s controversial whaling program fell under harsh attack this week when it was revealed that whalers had likely killed an endangered blue whale. Environmental groups have shared photos of the dead whale at a processing facility. Some experts are unsure whether the mammal is a blue whale or a blue whale-fin whale mix. Blue whales and fin whales are endangered species, and hunting them commercially is a flaunt of international law. Icelandic whalers have spent the past several weeks hunting fin whales, under national permits, for the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Scientists who encountered a 16-foot great white shark Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea say it represent the first confirmed sighting of a white shark in Spanish waters in 30-plus years. “In recent years there were possible unconfirmed sightings and various rumors, but this is the first scientific observation of the presence of Carcharodon [carcharias] in Spanish waters for at least 30 years,” the conservation group Alnitak announced on Facebook. “On this occasion, this historic sighting has been photographed, filmed and contemplated by a crew of 10 people from five countries.” The sighting occurred off the Cabrera Archipelago... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Breaching thresher shark. Photo: ©Tom Brereton By Pete Thomas A college professor leading a tour in search of dolphins and seabirds off southwest England grabbed his camera just in time to snap photos of a breaching 15-foot thresher shark. “My camera was not nearby so I only got a chance to get two pictures, but I was lucky,” Tom Brereton wrote on Facebook. His stunning images reveal the acrobatic nature of thresher sharks when they decide to glimpse their surroundings from above the surface. Reached this week, Brereton said he was leading a Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays tour on June 15... Continue reading
Posted Jun 28, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Alaska wildlife experts are hoping to trap and euthanize a grizzly bear believed responsible for killing one hiker and injuring a member of the search party. On Friday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game confirmed that the body of a man found Wednesday in the Eagle River area had been mauled by a bear. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Mike Soltis, 44, had last been heard from early Monday evening. He was reported missing Tuesday, prompting an expansive search. On Wednesday, a 51-year-old search-party volunteer was attacked and suffered a leg injury. Authorities believe the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas An deputy with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office in California was faced with a precarious task earlier this week: How to safely free a bear that had become trapped inside a Subaru Outback near Lake Tahoe. The black bear, which probably had smelled food inside the vehicle, inflicted so much damage that the doors would not open. Deputy Lade, as he’s identified on Facebook, appeared to have no other choice but to put his fist through the window – and run to safety – and allow the bear to climb out and flee into the forest. A... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has launched a criminal investigation regarding the death of a great white shark found Sunday on a beach in Aptos, Calif. The decision to turn the case over to law enforcement was made after a necropsy was performed at a UC Santa Cruz facility on Tuesday. Reached Thursday, CDFW spokesman Peter Tira said, "Our Law Enforcement Division has taken up the shark investigation as a result of findings from a necropsy conducted this week. I don’t have any more detail at this point." The carcass was discovered Sunday morning. There... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A Florida captain was mesmerized but also somewhat concerned during a rare whale shark encounter last Thursday, because the enormous creature “looked bigger than my boat.” In an ABC Action News report Monday, Capt. Barry Moss also said he had turned his engine off, so as not to scare the approaching whale shark. “Just beautiful,” Moss is heard saying, with the shark almost within touching range. It was one of three whale sharks spotted by Moss, who was 20 miles off Anna Maria Island, but the only shark that completed a close approach, with its mouth slightly... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Three hikers are fortunate to have escaped serious injuries – and to have been carrying bear spray – after being attacked by a grizzly bear on a popular trail near Cordova, Alaska. The harrowing June 9 incident, described Thursday by the Cordova Times, began with the bear trampling bushes to reach the hikers on the Ridge Trail. One hiker was knocked to the ground by the angry sow, which was trailed by a lone cub. Another hiker suffered injuries trying to find cover. Alicia King, a public affairs officer with the Chugach National Forest, said momma bear... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Mexico's Los Cabos region is experiencing powerful surf, gusty winds and street flooding as Tropical Storm Bud approaches Baja California’s tip. “Our power just went out, you could hear a transformer explode,” Eric Brictson, a sportfishing fleet owner, said from the town of San Jose del Cabo. “Winds will probably reach 50 mph before long. Surf is also pounding.” In Cabo San Lucas at Land’s End, flooding is occurring on some main avenues, which is common during heavy rain. “We are getting more rain now, but I think the ocean is what is most impressive at the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Folks in and around Cabo San Lucas are bracing for the late-week arrival of Hurricane Bud, likely as a tropical storm but still potentially dangerous. At midday Tuesday, Hurricane Bud was located 325 miles south-southeast of the resort city on Baja California’s tip. The storm boasted sustained winds of 125 mph, but was slowly weakening. “We are expecting to get hit by Bud, we just don't know how hard yet,” Eric Brictson, owner of Gordo Banks Pangas in nearby San Jose del Cabo, said via email. “But either way we are busy preparing, so far just higher... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A mostly white orca has been photographed by Russian researchers near the Commander Islands in the Bering Sea. The rare sighting was of a leucistic female orca that had not been documented in several years. Russian Orcas, a research group, announced the sighting early Monday on Facebook: “On the first day of our fieldwork in the Commander Islands, we encountered a large aggregation of several groups, including one with a white individual. “Not the famous Iceberg this time, but the female CO210 also known as ‘Mama Tanya’ (named after the main photo-ID researcher of our project Tatiana... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A humpback whale performed its version of a cannonball Friday off Port Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia, breaching into the air and drenching astonished whale watchers. The accompanying footage, captured by Tash Morgan for Port Jet Cruise Adventures, shows the whale’s up-close breach and spin, and water cascading over laughing spectators and the top of the vessel Wave Rider. The whale quickly surfaces, as if to gauge its success, and passengers are left and in awe and with the memory of a lifetime. –Image is a video screen grab Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A volunteer marine rescue group in New South Wales, Australia, is trying to determine why somebody planted the head of a mako shark atop a spiked fence around its facility. “If you know the people who caught the shark or the perpetrators we don’t need to know the names, we just need them be aware that we do not take kindly to this," Marine Rescue Shellharbour wrote on Facebook. "Please be mindful that our Marine Rescue base and surrounding area is monitored by hidden cctv.” The macabre discovery occurred Sunday morning at Marine Rescue Shellharbour. It remains... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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*Monday afternoon update: Hurricane Bud has strengthened to a Category 3 storm, with winds of 120 mph, and moved farther offshore By Pete Thomas With Hurricane Aletta having been downgraded to a tropical storm and posing no significant threat to the Mexican coastline, all eyes are on Hurricane Bud, which appears to be taking aim at the Los Cabos region of Baja California Sur. Aletta, currently located more than 500 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas at Baja’s tip, was a Category 4 hurricane with 140-mph winds on Friday. Aletta, now boasting 45-mph winds and weakening quickly, did not threaten... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas A woman was gored by a bison Wednesday at Yellowstone National Park, marking the third time a tourist has been injured by a wild animal at the park this month. Kim Hancock, 59, of Santa Rosa in Northern California, was gored in the hip area at Fountain Point in the Lower Geyser Basin, according to a park news release issued Thursday. Hancock was rushed by ambulance to Big Sky Medical Center, where she was listed in good condition. Park officials have launched an investigation, but state that Hancock and other tourists had approached within 10 yards of... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Wildlife officials in Wisconsin have launched an investigation after reviewing home security footage showing a strange-looking, wolf-like creature roaming a Racine County neighborhood. The footage, captured Monday morning, reveals a canine-type animal that's rangy like a wolf or coyote, but also resembles an odd-looking dog. If the animal turns out to be a wolf, it’d represent the first known wolf sighting in Southeast Wisconsin in three years. Dianne Robinson, a biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, told TMJ4 after reviewing the video: “We can’t at this point determine whether it’s a coyote, a wolf or... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Footage has emerged showing a kayaker being followed by a great white shark – and briefly ending up in the water near the shark – in shallow water off Santa Cruz, Calif. But is the footage misleading? The footage was captured Tuesday afternoon by the tour company Specialized Helicopters, which titled the video, “Scary! Kayaker in water with shark.” Giancarlo Thomae is greeted by a great white shark The kayaker is real, and the juvenile great white shark, measuring perhaps 10-12 feet, is genuine. But a source who wished to remain anonymous told me that the kayaker... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Video screen grab By Pete Thomas Freedivers off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, spent nearly three hours Friday in the company of curious orcas. The accompanying footage, captured by Regi Domingo of Pelagic Safari, shows one orca remaining almost totally motionless in a vertical position for several seconds while watching a diver and his camera. Domingo said the encounter occurred five miles offshore, in the Sea of Cortez, and that the sleek mammals seemed as mesmerized as the divers were. The company wrote on Facebook: “Believe it or not... Cabo San Lucas! An absolutely epic day on the water. Orcas in... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas Scientists monitoring the Gulf of Mexico sea floor documented a recent battle between sea creatures inside a shipwreck 6,000 feet deep. “He’s breaking apart the wreck,” one of the NOAA scientists notes in the accompanying footage, which was captured last Friday via ROV, run by a crew aboard the Okeanos Explorer. The researchers jokingly refer to the first creature as a Kraken, a mythical sea monster, but quickly identify the animal as a muse octopus. (See Facebook post.) The camera follows the octopus as it enters a ship wreck and unsuccessfully battles another muse octopus for control... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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By Pete Thomas People aren’t the only creatures whose nerves are rattled when an earthquake occurs. The accompanying footage, captured Thursday as a 5.3-magnitude earthquake struck near the Channel Islands off Southern California, shows a bald eagle dad briefly abandoning his three chicks, who are left to nervously ponder what might be happening. The nest is located on Santa Cruz Island, just north of the epicenter of an earthquake that struck beneath the sea floor just before 12:30 p.m. The eagles are monitored by Explore.org via live video feed. The earthquake was felt by residents on the mainland dozens of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors
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Mountain lion weighing 197 pounds after being treed during tracking expedition. Photo: ©Katie Kern By Pete Thomas Biologists in Washington State have captured, collared and released the largest mountain lion they've ever seen. Brian Kertson of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Bart George of the Kalispel Tribe, used dogs to tree a 197-pound mountain lion Monday north of Spokane. An average male adult mountain lion, or cougar, weighs 140 pounds. “He was a monster,” Kertson told the Spokesman-Review. “A cougar that pushes 200 pounds… I don’t care where you are in the world, that’s pretty extraordinary.” The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2018 at Pete Thomas Outdoors