Whale project- humpback whales

From: Greg Early (gearly1@earthlink.net)
Date: Wed May 28 2003 - 19:21:08 EDT

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: Bart Bauer [SMTP:cdebauer@gis.net]
    Sent: Monday, May 26, 2003 5:47 PM
    To: gearly1@earthlink.net; pita@whale.wheelock.edu
    Subject: Whale project

    Dear Greg,

                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!

    Whale Questions

    Bart,

    "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
    days.

    ge

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