From: Bart Bauer [SMTP:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2003 5:47 PM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Whale project
In science class we are doing projects on endangered
animals. My teacher assigned me to look up the humpback whale. There are
some questions I can't find the answers to. How big is a litter for the
whale? What is the whales niche? What is the gestation period? And what
is the latest known populations?
Thanks a ton!
"Thanks a ton" ... whales ... I get it ... Very funny.
OK ... your questions ... (So how many of these did you actually find
answer to???) By the way, one way to look some of this up (and check to
see if I am right ... by the way) is to check the WhaleNet archives.
Search according to a key word and you will be surprised to see how much
information is there.
Anyway, Humpback Whale.
How big is a litter? Well it is not really a litter at all, because they
only have one baby whale (called a calf, by the way) at a time. As a
matter of fact all whales (and dolphins and porpoises) all only have one
calf at a time. All tend to have big babies though (a baby humpback is
about fifteen feet long when born). Their gestation period is about one
year, although females only seem to give birth about every two to three
years. What is their niche? Well that sort of depends on what you mean by
niche. In a general sense they are migratory marine predators (about two
thirds of the way up the marine food web would be my guess). Population
numbers? Now this might get me in a bit of trouble as there is some debate
about how many there actually are, but we think there are between 11,000 -
12,000 in the North Atlantic, 6,000 - 8,000 in the North Pacific and about
17,000 in the southern hemisphere. Speaking of numbers, the question you
did not ask is why they are endangered. Here is a clue. Between the early
1900's until the early 1980's we estimate that about 200,000 humpbacks were
killed in the southern hemisphere by whaling (much of it illegal).
Fortunately, many humpback populations appear to be on the increase these
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