Subject: Humpback whales

Kim Marshall (kim@Whale.Org)
Thu, 20 Feb 1997 16:35:40 -0500 (EST)

Dear Mellisa,

I have just been lucky enough to spend a week with humpbacks in the Silver
Bank Sanctuary down off the Dominican Republic. I have a couple of
questions I would appreciate your help on: 1. Can you tell me the current
estimate(s) of the North Atlantic population of humpbacks?

**From the IUCN Red Data Book - there are approximately 7-10,000 North
Atlantic humpbacks with about 3500 individually identified.  THe world-wide
estimated population is about 25,000 from 150,000 in the pre-commercial
whaling days.

2. Do you know of other humpback breeding and calving grounds that are this
heavily populated (estimated at Silver Bank at 3500 or so a season)? The
north Pacific  population is believed to be around 2000+/-, there is about
900 identified.  From this data I would assume that the number of whales on
the Hawaiin breeding grounds would be less.

3. Do calves sometimes stay with their mothers longer than a
year--underwater I observed a whale at least 2/3 the size of a female
resting atop her as the calves do. Yes they do but it is not common.  If
the female allows the calf to stay, the calf usually will stick around.  It
is natural for the calf to become independant after 9-18 months of age.

Thank you - I hope this information has helped you.  Kim Marshall