about south river federation

Edgewater, MD

April 1, 2015


Yesterday marks the 13th sighting of the newest invasive species to call the South River its new home: the Jedi of the Sea, the narwhal.

These unicorns of the ocean are toothed whales with a large “tusk” that normally live in the Arctic waters around Greenland, Russia, and Canada. The frigid Maryland winter and frozen South River created the ideal narwhal habitat and could be the reason for the migration. Narwhals primarily consume squid, fish, and shrimp, but narwhals are gobbling up the cancerous catfish found in the headwaters of the South River. These inventors of the shish kabob travel in pods ranging in size from 10-100 individuals and communicate with one another using squeals and clicks. Several narwhals have been spotted in hot pursuit of boats, possibly mistaking the engine noises for other narwhal friends.

The Federation worked with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to create this educational video about the negative impacts from the invasion of narwhals. Scientists are rushing to develop an approach to control the alien invaders and are hoping to employ new research about the common genetic link between all invasive species. Kate Fritz, Executive Director of the South River Federation, remarked, “We urge anyone who spots a narwhal to report the sighting to our office. Although we are pleased to see we have reached a point at which we can sustain large mammals, we don’t know the impacts on the South River ecosystem.”

                Despite the fact that there are fears of this invasive species out-competing native fish, crabs, oysters, and waterfowl as well as changing natural food webs and decreasing biodiversity, narwhals could have a positive impact on the South River. Joe Smith, an Edgewater Beach resident, saw a narwhal using its horn to spear trash. “The sea rhino filled up his horn with trash from the river and then deposited it on the shoreline. I’ve filled up three bags worth of trash just today!”

Only one question remains: will the invasive narwhal actually help restore the South River? Only time will tell.



Happy April Fool’s Day!