blue whale

From: Greg Early (gearly@downeast.net)
Date: Thu Oct 03 2002 - 11:35:04 EDT

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    Jenny,

    Sounds like you have done a very good job at your research. And probably
    the most accurate thing you can say is that we do not have a very good
    count of the population today. There are some good reasons for this
    however.

    Too fast for early sail-driven whalers (blue whale can swim as fast as 19
    mph when chased), blue whales were not heavily hunted until the twentieth
    century when they became the most sought after catch of modern commercial
    whalers. In a single Antarctic season in 1930-31 over 30,000 blue whales
    were caught (probably more than exist worldwide today). Despite a
    reduction in hunting in the southern hemisphere soon after this season, and
    complete protection of all populations by international agreement in 1965,
    blue whale populations have yet to recover.

    Blue whales have been reported worldwide in every part of the worlds
    oceans, however they have been found most abundantly in their polar feeding
    grounds. There may be a population of roughly 6,000-8,000 in the Antarctic
    and there could be as many as 1,500 in both the North Atlantic and North
    Pacific oceans (although estimates in the North Atlantic have been as low
    as several hundred).

    Widely dispersed even when they were abundant, there were probably no more
    than one whale per 20 square miles of ocean, scientists estimate.

    It is easy tosee how the worlds largest living animal can disappear so
    completely in the vastness of the ocean and why, even today so little is
    known about their life and behavior.

    6,000-14,000 Estimated Blue Whale Population today (best guess)....

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Emrush [SMTP:rushby@sympatico.ca]
    Sent: Wednesday, October 02, 2002 7:17 PM
    To: gearly@downeast.net; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: question

    Dear Mr. Early,
    I am researching Blue Whales for a school project, and am finding
    population surveys that differ greatly - from fewer than 100 to more than
    10 000. I was wondering what the most accurate response would be.
    Sincerely,
    Jenny Rushby << File: ATT00004.htm >>



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