The headline sums it up really well. Our friends and colleagues from the New England Aquarium have taken, and shared via CBS News, this video of approximately five dozen endangered North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay. This represents nearly 13% of the estimated population of this species.
Female right whale with calf, by Richard Ellis. New Bedford Whaling Museum collection
A total of 20 offspring being added to a population doesn’t seem like much. But, when the species is one as endangered as the North Atlantic Right Whale, even this number is worth noting. A story in today’s Savannah Morning News talks a bit about the calving season and is a reminder that we can start looking for the mom’s and calves along the outer edges of Massachusetts soon.
On a related note, don’t forget about our whale watch field trip on Saturday, May 21, leaving the NBWM at 8:00am. Register with our front desk (508) 997-0046 x100 if you want to join us.
Whales have hitchhikers called cyamids, which are nicknamed ‘whale lice’. Their genetics have been studied and have led to some interesting conclusions about right whale genetics. The story was found on the University of Utah website.
Whale louse, Cyamis ovalis
The fact that this event was photographed is a great stroke of luck for this endangered species. This is a critically important event for preservation efforts for the North Atlantic Right Whale. To read the whole story go to this link, from AP.
Hear what photographer Brian Skerry has to say about his close encounter with a 45-foot-long right whale in this video on youtube. This photograph is also featured in our new exhibit, From Pursuit to Preservation: The Human Interaction with Whales.
A year’s worth of data collected by hydrophones in the waters off of the southern tip of Greenland indicates that some endangered northern right whales may be ‘hanging out’ near Cape Farewell Grounds. It will be interesting to learn what is deduced in the follow-up research. Is this a separate population of the NARW or is it a small group of those that we see along the Eastern seaboard that has gone wandering?
The Associated Press article can be found here: http://bit.ly/jfpDJ
North Atlantic right whale breaching in Cape Cod Bay, May 2009. Taken by Regina Asmutis-Silvia/WDCS
The New Bedford Whaling Museum supports the efforts of the many members of the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium as they work to protect this highly endangered species. We proudly display the skeletons of an NARW and her fetus in our Jacobs Family Gallery, http://bit.ly/TFmVj .
“Right whales have plenty to celebrate this Mother’s Day — the sea moms gave birth to a record 39 calves this spring…” Read the full story at msnbc.com.
Our upcoming exhibit, opening on July 3rd, “From Pursuit to Preservation”, will explore human interaction with whales. The final section in the exhibit, entitled “The Hunt for Knowlegde”, will include a look at whale populations.
A North Atlantic right whale swims with her calf February in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Florida. A record 39 right whale calves were born this spring.
WHOI (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute) press release: Right whale sedation enables disentanglement effort.
Whale avoidance of boats attempting disentanglement is a major obstacle for rescue teams. The new sedation technique slows the whale's reaction time, allowing boats to approach the animal and remove the fishing gear. (Georgia Wildlife Trust)
Sketch of entanglement of right whale # 3311. The whale was first spotted on January 14, 2009. It wasn't until teams could inject the animal with a sedative -- nearly two months later -- that they could get close enough to the animal to safely free it from fishing gear entanglements. (Scott Landry, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies)