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Perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to the "missing" right whales than originally thought. This sighting begs some interesting questions. How long have our rights been wandering off to the open ocean and maybe across the Atlantic? Are conditions changing and forcing right whales to seek new feeding ground or are they attempting to expand their range? What are the dynamics at play?
Here's the entire abstract:
On 5th January 2009 at 16:40 a North Atlantic Right Whale, Eubalaena glacialis, was observed off the Azores by biologists from the University of the Azores Dept. of Oceanography and Fisheries (Monica Silva, Irma Cascão, Maria João Cruz, Rui Guedes, and Norberto Serpa), as well as a biologist from Whale Watch Azores (Lisa Steiner). The position of the animal was 38 22.698 N and 28 30.341W. The animal was observed travelling in a Westerly direction for just over an hour. Photographs of the callosities and flukes were taken for photo-identification.
These photos were sent for comparison to the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalogue currently maintained by the New England Aquarium (www.rightwhaleweb.org). Philip Hamilton from the catalogue made a probable match to whale 3270 from the catalogue and this was later confirmed when more photographs were looked at. This whale was last seen in the Bay of Fundy on the 24th September 2008. The online North Atlantic Right Whale Catalogue has now been updated with this latest information.
This is the first confirmed sighting of a right whale in the Azores since 1888. These results will be published at a later date.
Any inquiries should be addressed to Monica Silva at DOP firstname.lastname@example.org to Lisa Steiner at email@example.com.
Thank you for your interest. Apologies for cross posting.
Monica Silva (Dept of Oceanography and Fisheries, University of the Azores)
Lisa Steiner (Whale Watch Azores)