Monday, March 8, 2010

Saving right whales

The Right Whale Aerial Survey Team here at the New England Aquarium knows that what they do is crucial to the success of this endangered species. They work long, hard hours along with the observers from the Wildlife Trust and the Florida Conservation Commission as part of this massive collaborative effort (EWS, Early Warning System) that has been growing for the past seventeen years to protect right whales from ship strikes in their only known calving ground. As our researchers found out, this year is not without its daily reminders of just how truly awesome, beautiful and wondrous the right whale really is.

Photo: Whale #2710 with her calf. Learn more about this whale in a previous blog entry or type her number in the Right Whale Catalog. Note: All work and images are under scientific permit from NMFS.

While flying their surveys and relaying real-time information on the right whales' locations to commercial and military ship traffic, the U.S. coastguard, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, local harbor pilots and members of the research community, they are able to witness and document a tremendous amount of information on the right whale, learning more and more about these elusive creatures.

This year we have spotted numerous mother/calf pairs including one of our favorites - Aphrodite (#1701) - with her fifth known calf, multiple Surface Active Groups (SAGs) and a quick sighting of Shackleton (#2440), one of our whales in the Sponsorship Program. We even documented Skittle (#3260) with her first known calf that was less than 20 hours old when sighted!

To find out more about this aerial survey season and see these whales and their fascinating behaviors visit the Right Whale Blog.


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