Humpback whales appearing closer to shore are farther from safety because of fishermen and shipping lanes.
Dr. Dave Wiley, research director of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary in Massachusetts, has said that most human-related deaths of humpback whales happen when they are either struck by passing ships or become tangled in fishing gear, reports The New York Times.
But, because policy makers did not know enough about the whales’ movements underwater, they could not reduce the risks of the massive mammals.
Now, however, with the examples of Touché as well as other humpback whales Dr. Wiley and his team captured in June, they will have that information. Wiley stated:
“Every time we go out and put another tag on, we learn something else. We’ve got examples sometimes of hundreds of feeding events that are almost all identical for that particular whale but are different than the hundred feeding events that we have for a different whale. It’s frustrating and complicated and fascinating all at the same time”
KSBY notes that the endangered humpback whales were recently spotted in the waters of Avila Beach, California, and visitors and sightseers are racing to grab pictures and videos of the amazing whales, which are known for feeding in a vertical motion.
Rhonda Burmeister, for example, took home video of a whale coming dangerously close to her and her daughter as they went kayaking off Avila Beach on Saturday. The experience, which was one of the best of Burmeister’s life, has gone viral on the internet.
While Burmeister was awed by the event, she noted that the adventure could have ended badly as well because a couple near her were knocked out of their kayak by the weight and voracity of the humpback whale. Harbor Patrol Officer Chris Weddle stated that:
“We have a couple different boats that get out on the water and and we make sure people aren’t pursuing the animal. Within the past week, we’ve actually had a couple of incidents where people have been knocked off of their kayaks, so we’re just out there trying to keep people safe.”
Weddle also said that the Port San Luis Harbor Patrol is urging kayakers, swimmers, and boaters to maintain a distance of 100 yards from the humpback whales when possible.
[Image from ShutterStock]