Monday, May 12, 2008

Unique photos: rare whale giving birth

The world's rarest large whale, the Northern right whale Eubalaena glacialis, has been photographed for the first time in the act of giving birth. Actually, Monica Zani of the New England Aquarium got the aerial photos in a lucky encounter in 2005 off the Georgia-Florida coastal area of the Atlantic. The pictures were closely held until Zani and other researchers could prepare and publish academic documentation of what was learned from the enoucnter.
The birth was good news in itself. There may be only 300 of these whales in the Atlantic and another 100 in the Pacific. They've rebounded very slowly from the days of near-extinction caused by whaling. Whalers called them the "right whale" to hunt - they were slow, produced plenty of whale oil along with baleen, and floated when dead. The species remains critically endangered.

Thanks to Kris Winkler for pointing me to this item.

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