Right Whale Migration Update: March 15, 2000
Today's Report Includes:
Greetings from the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
I'm Anne Smrcina, the education coordinator of the sanctuary and your humpback whale correspondent. I'll be contacting
a variety of scientists and naturalists and government officials over the next few months to give you the latest
updates on humpback whale migrations and status of the population.
Not Much to Report About Mother/Calf Pairs
Still no sightings of mothers and calves up north (and few sightings Not Much to Report About Mother/Calf Pairs
from the southern calving grounds).We still wait and hope for some good news. Last year we had hoped that the
females were stocking up on good food to bulk up their resources and produce more calves this year.
There are Lots of Whales Out There
The last time we reported lots of sightings of right whales. They are still being seen in plentiful numbers in
Cape Cod Bay, with overflights and boat patrols counting upwards of 30-40 per day (with good weather).
Whales and Fishing Line Don't Go Together
A couple of weeks ago an entangled right whale was sighted. The Center for Coastal Studies disentanglement team
was notified and got to the whale just before dusk. They were able to verify that the animal was entangled in
fishing gear which looked to be wrapped around a flipper (with line trailing quite a distance behind). Unfortunately,
the researchers were not able to get the line free from the whale, nor were they able to attach a satellite tag
(which they use to track the whale). With the approach of darkness, the team was forced to break off the rescue
attempt. Subsequent surveys proved disappointing as the whale was not relocated. (Although entangled, the whale
was still able to swim, but it is not known how disabling the entanglement is. Rope has been known to cut down
through the skin and blubber to cause dangerous and life-threatening injuries.)
This is Anne Smrcina, education coordinator of the Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuary, signing off.
Coastal waters off Georgia and Florida have been designated as "critical habitat" for the Northern Right
Whale by the US government since 1993. The US Navy helps coordinate the sightings of right whales in these protected
Read through the Navy data collected
this breeding season (Dec. through March), and see if you can take on these challenging questions:
Challenge Question # 7:
"How many times have right whale adults been sighted in the Right Whale Critical Habitat off the Florida/Georgia
Challenge Question #8:
"How many times have right whale calves been sighted in the Right Whale Critical Habitat off the Florida/Georgia
Challenge Question #9:
For all the right whale sightings, what is the average depth and the average distance from shore of their sighting.
(To respond to these
questions, please follow the instructions below.)
How to Respond to Today's Right Whale Challenge Question:
1. Address an E-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #7 (or #8, or #9).
3. In the body of the EACH message, give your answer to ONE question above.
The Next Right Whale Migration Update will Be Posted on March 29, 2000
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