more whale questions

From: Greg Early (gearly@downeast.net)
Date: Mon Oct 14 2002 - 17:39:40 EDT

  • Next message: Greg Early: "Jonah"

    Hi again class...same deal...the answers are below...

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Sue Shirley [SMTP:sshirley@dedhamcountryday.org]
    Sent: Friday, October 11, 2002 10:41 AM
    To: gearly@downeast.net; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: more whale questions

    Here are some more questions from the other half of the fifth grade! I'm
    sorry if some of them are repetitive. Many thanks for responding to the
    first half-they were thrilled.

    from Kaleigh, Casey, and Audrey: What do you do with the whales that you
    do save?

    When we rescue a whale we try to get it back to where it belongs.

     What is the most commonly beached whale? If you mean BIG whale it would
    probably be the humpback whale. If you include small toothed whales (down
    to porpoises)...the most common would probably be harbor porpoise, then
    pilot whales, then whitesided dolphins.

    from Alanna and Kristina: How do whales beach themselves? You know I get
    asked "why" a lot but almost never "how".... Most of the time the whales
    get stuck on sand bars or in marshes when the tide goes out. On Cape Cod
    there are some places where the tide will go out for over a mile between
    low and high tide....

    from Ajanni and Patrick: Have you ever been bitten by a whale? Yes, but I
    have done a lot of things (like feeding whales we were treating) that can
    get a person bit. I've never had a whale try to bite me on purpose. By
    the way...what was worse than being bitten was being hit with the tail of a
    pilot whale...there were doctors...there was plaster...there were
    crutches...it was not pretty...the moral of the story is even if you think
    you know what you are doing you need to be very careful, particularly
    around big animals... Do you have
    a favorite individual whale? My favorite whale (if you could call her a
    whale) was a Rizzos dolphin (a small whale, big dolphin, about the size of
    a pilot whale) by the name of "Louisiana Lou". Lou became stranded in a
    marsh south of Boston after she followed (actually rode on the bow) of a
    supertanker (the Louisiana) into Boston harbor. By the time we rescued her
    she was in prettybad shape, but she recovered at the New England Aquarium
    and was actually seen as a part of the dolphin shows for a while, when she
    was there. She was a very nice whale, but was sickly and (we later found
    out) deaf. So she was eventually sent to a research facility, that took
    care of her for many years. What was he/she like? She was very tolerant
    of us trying to treat her and seemed to try very hard to fit in with the
    bottlenose dolphins that she was being kept with.

    from Josh and Davis: Where are most whales stranded? Well...on the beach
    of course...Actually around here, the location of most strandings is the
    inside coast of Cape Cod (near the town of Wellfleet and Welfleet Bay).How
    do you get the whales back to the aquarium? Trucks...BIG
    trucks...Remember, the largest whales we move that way have been pilot
    whales (about ten to twelve feet long and about 1000-1200 pounds). So we
    use special lifting stretchers to pick them up and rest them on foam pads.
     Keep them wet and cool (or warm depending on what the need) and off we go.

    from Roxana and Katie: What do most whales die of? There is a difference
    between the ones I see and the ones that die out at sea that I don't see
    (see??). What happens to the ones at sea, I guess no one knows. Of the
    ones that come ashore, the ones that come in singly are usually sick,
    (quite often with parasites), injured, or abandoned young. When whole
    groups come ashore, most may be pretty healthy to start, but die from being
    on the beach too long.

    from Ian and Will: What do you do to find out why an animal dies? We
    examine it a closely as we can. This might mean that we will take the
    whale apart and look at it inside and out. We often save parts that are
    looked at and tested later. Sometimes it might be years later. In one
    case we took blood samples that we had saved in a freezer from pilot whales
    and tested them to see if they might have had a certain disease (we did not
    know about this disease when the whales stranded). We found out that some
    of those whales probably had the disease we were looking for. Those blood
    samples had been in a freezer for almost ten years..... How long
    does it take for a whale to die? Way too long if you are nearby......(In
    some cases a whale that is hurt on the beach may float off and take weeks
    to die. In some cases, when a whale must be "put to sleep", it can take
    only seconds.



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