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message 1: by Melissa (last edited Dec 10, 2010 02:02PM) (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) Tis the season for aerial surveys of North Atlantic right whales. Surveyors document the new calves, record sightings and locations of whales, and keep shipping officials informed of the whales' locations to help protect the whales.

The right whales were the first large cetaceans (aquatic mammals: dolphins, porpoises, whales) to be commercially hunted starting perhaps as early as the 10th century. Right whale hunting was banned in 1935 because the populations had plummeted. Today, right whales are endangered and the North Atlantic right whales (scientific name Eubalaena glacialis) are the rarest of all: there are less than 400 remaining.

North Atlantic right whales are found in . . . the north Atlantic, and most of the whales inhabit the western waters. They winter and calve in warmer waters off the coast of southeastern U.S. and move north to feed through the summer in the New England waters, north to the Bay of Fundy and the Scotian Shelf. The population of North Atlantic right wales from the eastern waters of the ocean is nearly extinct, numbering only in the tens of animals. Historically, they ranged from the northwestern coast of Africa, north to coastal Ireland. Their migration patterns and distribution of the eastern North Atlantic right whales are now largely unknown.

Right whales are huge, up to 55 feet (16.5 m) in length and may weigh up to 70 tons. They have a large head with two rows of baleen plates that hang from their upper jaws. Since they have no teeth, their age is estimated using their ear bones. It is believed that right whales may live at least 50 years, but the data are limited, and some closely related species live to over 100 years.

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message 2: by Larry (new)

Larry (hal9000i) Fabulous, would love to go whale watching


message 3: by Marieke (new)

Marieke yeah, that's a terrific picture, Melissa! your post makes me want to read In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex even though it would depress me. :(


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (mjkirkland) Wow Marieke, that book looks amazing. I've never heard of it before. You're right, it would be depressing. I enjoyed The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea because it was such a great story, but it, too, was very sad.

Tragic sea stories - a good topic for a new thread!


message 5: by Marieke (new)

Marieke Melissa said Tragic sea stories - a good topic for a new thread!

True!


message 6: by Marieke (new)

Marieke just saw this cute dog who looks for whale poo in the ocean! (please excuse my pedestrian manner of speaking...)


message 7: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten | 282 comments Whales are awesome! I used to go and watch them during their migration from the north Pacific to Mexico. They come pretty close to shore in Newport, OR, and you can sometimes see them from the beach (with binoculars). Amazing.


message 8: by Marieke (new)

Marieke Lucky!
I've never seen whales but I have seen dolphins off the coast of south Carolina.


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