Humpback Whale

How are the Polar Bears and Whales doing?

The green taliban like to scare us that Whales and Polar Bears are dying…but are they?

Nope…not anytime soon.

Humpback whales. Some cetaceans are in big trouble. The Yangtze River dolphin is down to a few individuals, at best. Right whales could disappear by the end of the century. Yet we’ve been repeating the “save the whales” mantra for so long that the real conservation status of most whales is widely misunderstood.

Humpbacks were endangered decades ago due to whaling, but international protection has helped them rebound so well that they are now listed as a “species of least concern.” The global pre-whaling population is estimated at about 125,000, and today they probably number about 80,000 individuals. Conservation efforts worked, and humpback whales are doing all right now.  Read more »

Don’t mess with Whales

Seriously I don’t know why people mess around with Whales…it always ends in tears.

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A whale has knocked out a surfer in a bizarre incident at Bondi Beach.

The 15 metre humpback whale surfaced among surfboard riders and swimmers close to the beach this morning, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.   Read more »

Whale gets a facial

Whale visits Bay of Islands

Here is your obligatory Whale post:

Visitors to the Bay of Islands were treated to a show they won’t forget when a whale frolicked and leapt from the sea in front of their boat for at least 15 minutes.

The humpback, a juvenile about 12m long, was leaping backwards with almost its entire body out of the water – known as “breaching” – near the Hole in the Rock about midday yesterday.

It was seen by the passengers and crew of the Tangaroa, a Fullers GreatSights vessel on the day-long “Cream Trip”.

Whale expert Jo “Floppy” Halliday, of Opua, was working as a guide on the boat when the young marine mammal put on a “fantastic show”.

Read more »

Face of the Day

One of the finalists in the Geographic photo competition:

“WASHED UP WHALE”
3rd July 2011. A 12m long humpback whale that was washed up on the harsh Pencarrow Coast near Wellington.
Photo Phil Reid/Dominion Post/Fairfax

Whale Sex

Brace yourself…someone has papped Whale having sex and it has exploded all over the internet.

Bloody media.

Image after the break

Read more »

Whale Watching

Comments have already been made about the stability of the woman in the black dress taking the picture and the stupidity of getting this close to such a beast.

What do Whales do when they dive?

Until now we have only had our imagination and some fleeting video to judge what Whales do when they dive.

A surfacing whale is a sight to see, but it would be even more dramatic to watch one ply the ocean depths. Researchers have taken a step closer to doing just that with sophisticated radio-tagging technology and a new computer program that uses the data to recreate a whale’s path underwater. The results, presented here yesterday at the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, are helping scientists understand how the school bus-sized beasts are able to take in enough food to sustain their great girth, and how underwater noises, such as sonar, might affect their well-being.

Comparative physiologist Jeremy Goldbogen of the Cascadia Research Collective in Olympia, Washington, studies feeding in blue fin and other so-called rorqual whales. For almost a decade, he and his colleagues have been attaching suction cup radio tags onto the backs of the cetaceans. The tags record depth, sound, and other parameters as the whales swim. After a set amount of time, they fall off, float to the surface, and send out a radio signal so they can be retrieved and their data analyzed.

The work showed that in one giant gulp, a blue whale—the biggest creature on Earth—takes in 125% of its body weight in water and krill. During their dives, the cetaceans ram into patches of krill, opening their mouths wide and wrapping their jaws around prey-laden water, a move that stops them short. Next, they close their mouths and push water through their baleen, a system of plates that filter out the food, then speed up for another feeding bout.

There is a cool video that shows about 20 minutes of diving and feeding behaviour (compressed into a 30 second video):

…a tagged blue whale dives twice over the course of 19 minutes. The movie shows the whale moving at about 50 times its cruising speed. The first dive, to about 15 meters, takes about 2.5 minutes in real life; the second one, which includes feeding bouts, lasts more than 12 minutes and reaches down to 180 meters, where the whale lunges five times in quick succession, as if it were on a roller coaster.

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Face of the Day

Two stories about Humpback Whales in the Hauraki Gulf yesterday and some photos.

Whale Watching

There is a reason why they tell you to stay 100 metres from Whales and why it isn’t a good idea to go paddling amongst school fish when Whales are feeding.

A woman floating on a surfboard near Santa Cruz, California almost ended up on the lunch menu for a humpback whale over the weekend. Barb Roettger had her camera rolling as two hefty whales popped out of the calm waters not far from the unsuspecting surfer and a pair of kayakers.

A pod of humpback whales has been hanging out off the Santa Cruz coast, noshing on anchovies that flock to the area to feed on plankton. The woman found herself in the middle of a feeding frenzy called lunge feeding, which occurs when whales herd anchovies and shoot straight up out of the water with their mouth wide open to catch the fish.

The whales have had quite a few dangerous close encounters with humans and boats in recent months. Whale watchers are warned to stay at least 100 yards away from the feeding area. Roettger says she has now gained a greater respect for whales, their feeding patterns and will now only spectate from the decidedly safer dry land.