Sunday, February 15, 2009

Breaching Whales and Conservation Heroes

The Marine Resources Council (MRC) refers to Cindy Dolaway as a conservation hero - she was the Council's 2006 Right Whale Volunteer of the Year and was honored by Disney in 2007 for her "tireless conservation efforts with both the Right Whale Monitoring Program and the Sea Turtle Preservation Society." (She was one of only nine honorees woldwide!)

Luckily, Cindy is also a friend that lets me know when something whale-related is going on, so I was delighted when she sent an email with photos of a breaching Humpback whale off our coast. The photos were taken last week by Arnold Dubin, local photographer and Newsletter Editor for the Camera Club of Brevard, and he graciously gave me permission to share them with you. (The photographers amongst you will know what a thrill it must have been to photograph this magnificent creature rising from the sea!) Be sure to click to enlarge to photos.
The term "breaching" refers to the whale leaping out of the water - Wikipedia has an interesting entry on breaching and notes that Right , Humpback, and Sperm whales are the most prodigious jumpers. (Somehow, the description brought to mind Shaquille O'Neal dunking a basketball, but that's probably because the NBA All-Star Game is on in a few minutes.)
In her email, Cindy said that there have been 26 Right Whale calves born in the southeast this winter (a very good year), but most of the mom/calf pairs have stayed to the north of us. (MRC Director Julie Albert just emailed me to say that it's up to 31 calves now this year - tied for the record!)
The Marine Resources Council has an automated phone system that sends out a recorded message by Julie when a whale is sighted off our coast - email for more information. The whale hotline is 1-888-979-4253.
Check out the American Cetacean Society web site for descriptions of the various whales - there are some interesting fact sheets, and a link so you can listen to the whale sounds!
I really like that concept of "conservation hero" - I know others that would qualify, and I'm sure you do too. Let's think about that.

1 comment:

Craig Glenn said...

Awesome photo's of the breach! Found you on the nature blog network. I look forward to folling you post.

I am in central florida and enjoy blogging about the critters here.