Please will you tell me the about the following things on right
> whales. how many are there in the world? what kind of habitat do
> they live in? what led to the right whale to becoming endangered?
> what is being done to conserve the right whale? please reply as
> soon as possible
Reply: Dear Megan,
Thank you for your question. I work a lot with right whales so your
question is an easy one for me. I have listed information below but I also
recommend that you search on WhaleNet for your information. Good luck!
The whales were given the name ³right whales² by the whalers, who considered
them the ³right², or correct, whales to kill, because they swim slowly, they
yield a large amount of valuable blubber and they float to the surface when
killed. Because of these characteristics, right whales were hunted almost to
the point of extinction.
Some calculate that the worldwide population prior to the start of
commercial whaling was around 300,000 individuals. In spite of having
worldwide protection at the moment, the population is still low, thought by
many to number 8000 individuals around the world (7500 in the Southern
hemisphere and around 500 in the Northern hemisphere). This means that right
whales have one of the lowest population densities of any whales,
particularly in the Northern hemisphere.
Weight: 40 -60 tons
Length: 45 - 55 feet (females are larger than males)
Length at birth: 15 feet
- no dorsal fin
- body uniformly black or dark
brown, often mottled with
brown, gray, or blue
- irregular white patches on belly
- large, paddle-like flippers
- strongly arched mouth line
- rough patches of skin called
callosities on top of head
Scientifically known as Eubalaena australis (from the Greek " EU "; true, "
BALAENA "; whale and from the Latin " AUSTRALIS "; the south), the Southern
right whale is a mammal that belongs to the Order Cetacea, which includes
all the whales, dolphins and porpoises, and to the Suborder Mysticeti,
whales that feed using something called baleen in their mouths.
This whale is migratory, and it is found exclusively in the Southern
hemisphere, between 20ºS and 64ºS latitude. During the mating season (autumn
to spring), several different populations congregate off the coasts of South
America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Afterwards they move south
towards their feeding areas, which in the case of the Peninsula Valdés
population is believed to be in the region of the South Georgia Islands.
Underneath their skin, the whales have a thick layer of fat called blubber
that is used like a power plant for storing energy. In the mating areas, the
whales depend on their blubber reserves, since they spend several months
without feeding. They have two blowhole openings spaced far apart; when
exhaling, observers see a typical ³blow² in a " V " shape that can reach up
to 13 feet in height.
The right whale has 450 baleen plates, hanging from each side of the upper
jaw. They are finer and denser than those of other baleen whales, and can
grow to a length of 8 feet. In order to feed, the right whales swim slowly
with their mouths open and let water pass through the baleen, filtering out
their primary food, copepods, zooplankton smaller than krill. Although
Peninsula Valdés is not primarily a feeding area, every year a few whales
are observed feeding there.
Ocean Alliance (Whale Conservation Inst. & the Voyage of the Odyssey)
191 Weston Road, Lincoln, MA 01773
781.259.0423 ext. 14 fax 259.0288
Please support our efforts to conserve whales and their ocean environment
through research and education :)
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