Subject: Gray whales

Martine Berube (mberube@ulb.ac.be)
Wed, 13 May 1998 12:39:10 +0200 (MET DST)

At 09.59 PM 12-05-1998 EDT, you wrote:
>i am a student in pittsburg, ca and i need to know about gray whales
>1. are they endangered 

At some point there was a North Atlantic gray whale but they are extinct.
The eastern North Pacific population has been hunted to the edge of
extinction in the 1850's after the discovery of the calving lagoons, and
again in the early 1900's with the introduction of floating factories, the
gray whale was given
partial protection in 1937 and full protection in 1947 by the International
Whaling Commission (IWC). Since that time the eastern North Pacific gray
whale population has made a remarkable recovery and now numbers between
19,000 and 23,000, probably close to their original population size.

>2. what do they eat
Gray whales feed on small crustaceans such as amphipods, and tube worms
found in bottom sediments.

>3. how large are they
Adult males measure 45-46 feet (13.7-14 m) and adult females measure
slightly more.

>4. how many babies can they have at a time
Females bear a single calf.

>5. how often do they have babies
Every 2 or more years.

>6. why do they migrate?
Gray whale migrate from their feeding areas up North, where of course the
food is abundant and then migrate to their breeding area which are shallow
coastal water. One of the reason why they migrate in warmer water is to
given birth to the calf that has not yet acquired the necessary blubber to
protect themself against cold water. 

>7. why do men have interaction with the whale?
Whales have been hunted as a resources, oil, food etc... As the populations
started to deplete we had to learn about the species in order to increase
our knowledge to make good management decision and therefore protect the
animal and its environment. Finally, there is the human curiosity which
bring thousand of people on tourist boat every year.

> this is my daughter's school project, her e-mail address is
>www.macturtlej@aol.com
>please put the answers to her e-mail this is sent 5-12-98 she turns in her
>report on the 20th of may so, please e-mail her very soon, thanks
>
>
Martine Berube
Unit of Evolutionary Genetics
Department of Molecular Biology
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
CP 244
Bld du Triomphe
B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 650 5427
Fax: +32 2 650 5421
Email: mberube@ulb.ac.be