Murdoch-Owned NatGeo Channel to Promote Naming Hawaiian 'Hope' Fish After Obama

December 26th, 2016 7:03 AM

Here’s another little piece of evidence that the Murdoch family buying the National Geographic Channel isn’t turning it into a right-wing property.  A forthcoming special Sea of Hope – debuting January 15 – includes footage of President Obama visiting a Hawaiian island to meet with “legendary scientist” Sylvia Earle as she shows him a new tropical fish species named after him.

In the following clip, marine biologist Richard Pyle claims the fish has a “hope” logo on the dorsal fin, and asks Earle to ask the president for his permission to have a fish named in his honor, since he wants him to be “a willing participant in this.”

LiveScience reported this was to honor Obama's environmental policies:

"We decided to name this fish after President Obama to recognize his efforts to protect and preserve the natural environment, including the expansion of Papahānaumokuākea," the study's lead author, Richard Pyle, a scientist at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, said in a statement. "This expansion adds a layer of protection to one of the last great wilderness areas on Earth."

Obama expanded the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument on Aug. 26 after Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), along with conservationists and marine scientists, urged the president to protect the region's waters and marine life. The monument is now 582,578 square miles (1.5 million square kilometers), an area more than twice the size of Texas, that holds the title for largest permanent protected marine area on the planet.…

 When scientists first spotted the small pink fish, they thought it was a Pseudanthias thompsoni (another tropical fish species), but a prominent red spot on the end of the animal's dorsal fin indicated that the fish was a previously unidentified species, the researchers wrote in the study.

A later analysis found that the fish belongs to the basslet group, which includes colorful reef fishes often seen in the aquarium fish trade. The fish's distinctive spot, seen on males, is blue around the edge (although it looks purple in the photo) with red and yellow stripes in the center.  

"The spot on the males is reminiscent of President Obama's campaign logo," said Pyle. "It seemed especially appropriate for a fish named in honor of the president."

Obama isn't the only politician to be honored like this. In 2005, researchers named newfound species of slime-mold beetles after President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.