Saturday, February 20, 2010

Gemini shows up in calving area

Gemini has been spotted in the right whale calving area off Georgia in the first part of February. This is the second time he has been seen in the calving area, the first in 2008. Gemini is more than 30 years old but his exact age is unknown. It is unusual for adult male right whales to travel to the calving area, preferring to winter somewhere else. The calving areas are not breeding areas for right whales. Why Gemini is now going to the calving area is unknown.

In recent years, aggregations of adult right whales have been observed in the Gulf of Maine (Jordan Basin and Jeffrey's Ledge) well into January before dispersing. It has been speculated that this might be a breeding area, given that right whale gestation is about a year with calves generally born from December through March

Gemini joins another approximately 90 right whales that have been seen in the calving area this winter but only eleven mothers and calves this year so far, well below the number of calves born in the last nine years but more reminiscent of the numbers in the 1980s and 1990s.

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