The SEUS 2015 field season is over, and the Duke/Syracuse team officially disbanded last week. Although the season is finished for us, it is far from over for the other teams involved in right whale research in the southeast. The aerial teams will fly until March 31 and the FWC and Georgia DNR boats are still around as well. Even though we only managed to get a few tags on this year, one of those was a 23 hour tag – that is a long deployment! There are also officially 16 moms so far, up from 11 last year, and plenty of time for more calves to be had! Here are the newest editions to the mom list:
#1620 (Mantis): a female first seen in 1986, making her at least 29, although nothing else is known about her pedigree. This is her 6th calf.
#2223 (Calvin): a 23 year old female and one of the most famous North Atlantic right whales. Calvin’s mother was #1223 (Delilah) who was struck and killed by a large ship in the Bay of Fundy before Calvin was even weaned. Researchers feared that Calvin wouldn’t survive without the milk and guidance from her mother that she still needed. Clearly however, Calvin beat the odds and is now having calves of her own – this is her 3rd calf. How is that for a success story?! Fun fact: she is named after the character from the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes” for being so independent and resourceful. Read about all of the other things that make Calvin both unique and a huge benefit to right whale researchers in this blog post from the New England Aquarium. If her story touches your heart, be sure to consider sponsoring her!
#2790: a female first seen in 1997, making her at least 18 years old. Since she was first seen as an adult, we are not sure who her mother is and know nothing else about her family tree. This is her 4th calf.
#3292: a 13 year old female and the whale we got our 23 hour tag on! Her mother is #1310 (Amanda) and her father is #1320 (Mohawk). This is her 2nd calf.
#3420 (Platypus): an 11 year old female, this is her first calf! Her mother is #2460 (Monarch) and her father is #1037.
We are currently getting ready for the 2015 CCB field season which is only 2 weeks away. Hopefully by that time there will be more moms to report and all the snow will be gone…until then, good luck to all the teams still in the southeast! I already forget what it feels like to be warm.