Monday, January 12, 2009

Right whale takes big trip to the Azores

The endangered North Atlantic Right whale, which lives in Fundy for several months thru summer and fall, goes south for its winter feeding grounds. Generally, these whales are spotted feeding in the warmer coastal waters off Georgia and North Carolina during our winter months. This week, however, for the first time since 1888, a Right whale has been spotted as far south as Faial Island in the Azores.

Using the Right whale's callosites (hard patches of skin, light in colour, usually on face - see photo) and distinctive fluke (tail) markings, whale researchers were able to identify this whale as one last spotted here in the Bay of Fundy a few months ago - on September 24, 2008.

The North Atlantic Right whale is one of the world's most endangered whales, with only about 300 remaining in the Atlantic. One thing that's quite neat about whale watching here in Fundy is that all of our whale operators voluntarily adhere to a strict whale watching code of ethics which enables them to allow visitors to view our 12 species of whales but also encourages them to participate in whale research and cataloguing. Hence, a contribution to the wealth of accurate and detailed information known about our whales in their summer and winter habitats, and in between.

Photo borrowed from Whale Watch Azores, in case you happen to be in the Azores this week and want to go whale watching!

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