Monday, December 31, 2012

Wart's and Kleenex's Families Grow

The 2013 right whale calving season is only a month old and already twelve calves have been seen and two of our adoptive families have grown.

Kleenex has one of the largest right whale families and her daughter, #2042, had her first calf in December.  This is Kleenex's eight grand-calf and the fourth of five daughters to have calves. Kleenex has had eight calves with the earliest in 1977 (unknown sex and never catalogued), followed by two male calves and five female calves. #2042 has yet to be named and is one of the older new mothers, born in 1990.  The age a female has her first calf varies greatly, from as young as five to over twenty, but the average is around ten years of age.

Right whale diving in the Bay of Fundy.
Wart's family has grown by two so far this calving season.  Her daughter, Black Heart #3540, born in 2005, had her first calf, Wart's tenth grand-calf.  Wart's grand-calf, Millipede #3520, born the same year as Black Heart, and the daughter of Wart's calf, Naevus, #2040, born in 1990, also had her first calf in December, Wart's fourth great-grand-calf.

It is not unusual to have several generations of right whale females with calves in the same year.  In fact, #1612 and her daughter #2912 both have had calves this December.  Researchers are still hoping that perhaps some of the females that were seen in the Gulf of Maine a year ago, a suggested mating area for right whales, will be seen with calves this year.
Right whale diving amongst great and sooty shearwaters in the Bay of Fundy.

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