Subject: Re: whales

Phillip J. Clapham (pclapham@whsun1.wh.whoi.edu)
Sat, 9 Oct 1999 09:46:50 -0400 (EDT)

Hi again:
1) How best to protect whales?	Well, you could join one of the
organizations that work to do this.  And also write letters to your
representatives when you feel that something needs to be done to protect
whales.
2) Garbage in the oceans affects whales sometimes.  The worst kind is
actually old fishing nets that float away; many animals (not just whales)
get trapped in these nets and die.  Some whales swallow garbage and this
can also kill them.
3) How long do blue whales live?  We don't know for sure, but it's probably
more than 80 years for some.  We know that fin whales can live to at least
that age, and fins are very closely related to blues.
4) How much spermaceti in the average sperm whale?  That's a great
question, and I honestly don't know the answer!  I'll see if I can find out
(and if you do, please let me know!)
5) Strangest behavior in a whale?  Hmm, that's a tough one (and it depends
on what you mean by "strange"!)  Right whales in South America have a
behavior called "sailing" where they put their tails in the air and sail
downwind, then go back upwind and do it all over again!  It seems to be
done just for the fun of it!
Phil
5) Belugas got their name from the Russian word for "white".  How do you
put radio tags on whales?  Generally by attaching a tag to the skin, or
sometimes putting it into their blubber (this is rather like what barnacles
do when they attach to a whale).  It's not easy, and whales often "lose"
tags, but it's becoming better now and some tags have stayed on blue or
humpback whales for several months.