Monday, December 04, 2006

More about Right whales

Since we're on the topic of Right whales, I thought you might like to know a bit more about them...

From the 11th century to the early 20th century, right whales were hunted extensively.Their name comes from the fact that they were the "right" whales to kill: They are large, slow moving and filled with oil, blubber and high-quality baleen, or what whalers called whalebone.

Almost anything we'd use steel for now was made of whalebone in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, including bedsprings, pie cutters, corsets and buggy whips.

In 1935, after being declared "commercially" extinct, the right whale was granted federal protection. Unfortunately, the population has not rebounded the way researchers would like...with only approximately 350 whales surviving today.

It's predicted that if the population continues to stagnate, the species will be extinct in 200 years. Part of the problem is that right whales are long-lived and reproduce slowly. But the real danger lies at the intersection of human and right whale behavior and geographical preference.

Like people, right whales spend most of their time near the coasts - in areas where boat traffic is high and fishing gear, such as lobster pots and lines, is prevalent.

added Dec 10 - for more info on our whale's visit the Fundy whale blog

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