This is the best birthday present for me today, I received the latest update from the right whale calving grounds this morning from the New England Aquarium.
On February 18th, Slash was seen with her 6th calf. It has been a couple of years since she has been seen (2006) which is not unusual and four years since she had her last calf (2005). I will now try to patiently wait until the summer when no doubt she will come for a visit to the Bay of Fundy. She is not always the easiest mother to find, preferring to avoid vessels after her close encounter with a vessel when she lost part of her tail. We will have a number of old friends and a number of our adoptive mothers in the Bay this summer with their new calves.
The official calf count is at 34! with one dead calf not included in this list. Unfortunately, Gannet #2660, appears to have lost her calf. This can happen for a number of reasons, problems during birth, birth defects, storms that separate mother and calf, entanglement and vessel strikes. As with all babies, the first year of life has the highest mortality.
There are still a few weeks left in the calving season and it will be exciting to see what this record breaking calving year will bring. Previously the highest number of calves born in a year was in 2001 with 31. This, of course, is over a 29 year period (1980-2009) during which right whales along the eastern seaboard have been monitored.