Ninety- five right whales are playing and feeding today in what might be one of the largest gathering of these rare whales in history.
These endangered whales eat plankton and billions of copepods (tiny crustaceans) while consuming about a ton of food a day. The copepods are packed with protein and calorie-rich oils. Their near-surface feeding and traveling activities put them at risk for vessel collision. The mother-calf pairs often wander into smaller waterways like the Cape Cod Canal and Salem harbor. There are two first time mother this season.
The North Atlantic right whale Eubalaena glacialis,is greatly endangered. An adult right whale measures about 50 feet (15 metres) in length. There are two other species of right whale, Eubalaena australis, which lives in the southern hemisphere, and Eubalaena japonica, the North Pacific right whale. The three different species of right whales never meet in their ocean travels. While southern right whales are increasing at a rate of 7-8% per year, North Atlantic right whales are not showing any signs of recovering from historical whaling with approximately 350 individuals left.
Man is the greatest threat to these highly endangered whale, because of collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear, and pollution.
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.mvgazette.com
Excerpts courtesy of http://www.rightwhaleweb.org
Image courtesy of http://blog.eol.org/right-whale.jpg