Monday, May 2, 2011

Endangered Whales Appear Off Cape Cod (Video) *North Atlantic Right Whales one of rarest marine mammals*


North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis): Mother with Calf

Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales Appear Off Cape Cod The seasonal appearance of endangered whales, including North Atlantic Right Whales, has occurred off the coast of Massachusetts this spring. This latest gathering is considered the largest since these whales became endangered and they can be easily seen from shore.

"These are probably rarest of the large whales" Charles "Stormy" Mayo, a senior scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts, says the whales are following their food, zooplankton and krill. There are only an estimated 473 North Atlantic Right Whales remaining and more than 200 have been spotted off the coast of Massachusetts. That's approximately 42% of the entire known population!

Whaling Decimated Population Whaling almost completely killed off the North Atlantic Right Whale. These slow-swimming, peaceful marine mammals, weighing up to 70 tons, growing to 55 feet long, and living 50+ years, were easy prey for whalers. Tens of thousands of North Atlantic Right Whales were slaughtered until an estimated mere 100 remained. Whaling of these mammals was originally banned in the 1930s and they are slowly making a comeback through various conservation efforts.

Right Whales The population of western North Atlantic Right Whales are all near North America. The eastern population that once lived from the coast of northern Europe to the coast northwest Africa is presumed extinct. The species of Right Whales and relatives per Wikipedia:
● 400 to 450 North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) live in the North Atlantic
● 30 - 50 North Pacific right whales live in the eastern North Pacific (Eubalaena japonica) and perhaps 100-200 more in the Sea of Okhotsk
● 12,000 Southern right whales (Eubalaena australis) are spread throughout the southern part of the Southern Hemisphere
● 9,000 - 10,000 bowhead whales are distributed entirely in the Arctic Ocean and sub-polar seas

Endangered Whales Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast Tourists and scientists marvel at the ocean mammals.

"We believe the preservation of marine and coastal habitats and the recovery of species is crucial to the health of all life."

NOAA Fisheries, Office of Protected Resources: North Atlantic Right Whale
Right whales were first protected by the 1931 Convention for the Regulation of Whaling, which took effect in 1935. However, neither Japan nor the Soviet Union signed this agreement, so they were theoretically free to kill right whales.

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