|As Metompkin's movements are tracked, at one point it seems that she takes an eastward turn and begins swimming toward the Azores, a set of islands far east of the United States. The scientists are amazed.
Question - [Why would a coastal mammal, usually swimming near shore, head out toward the open sea?]
For 3 months Metompkin appears to be circulating in an area known as the Maury Smear, a part of the Atlantic Ocean where right whales were hunted during the old days of whaling.
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Or possibly the fishing gear may have fallen off, taking the satellite tag with it to float free in the Gulf Stream. Maybe we don't know where she is at all!
July 4, 1996
The last satellite transmission is received we assume because the battery dies.
August 6, 1996
Metompkin is sighted in the Bay of Fundy near Lubec, Maine with no sign of the fishing gear in which she was entangled! She is FREE!!!!
February 5, 1997
The following fax arrives from Chris Slay, New England Aquarium Right Whale Research Program:
I like to think that on Independence Day (July 4, 1996) when the tagging battery died, Metompkin's burden fell away. She did make an appearance in the Bay of Fundy this past August and we were excited to see that she'd lost the gear and was swimming free. She had scars, but she was healthy. Whatever the case, this young whale was pregnant during the whole entanglement because she is here off the coast of Georgia with her first calf!
This is the best news of all !!!!!
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