Humpback Humpback
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Humpback Whale Migration Update: April 14, 1999

Today's Report Includes:

Ladies and Children First?
Greetings from the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

The whales are on the move! Many adult females and some juveniles have been reported in the Sanctuary. According to researchers at the Cetacean Research Unit in Gloucester, Mass., they saw several of last year's mothers, including Salt, Echo, Staff, Thalassa, Carhu and Nile as well as several of last year's calves.

Challenge Question #8
"Why do you think the last year's mothers and their calves are often the first to return to Stellwagen each spring?"

For a detailed report on CRU's April 6th research cruise to Stellwagen Bank, take a look at the Cetacean Research Unit website. Research begins each year on April 1, when they launch their vessel. In addition, many of the Massachusetts whalewatch operations have started with weekend cruises now. (Daily cruises will take place during the summer.)

Why Winter Whales in Virginia?
Over the past few months (Jan.-Mar.) the Virginia Marine Science Museum in Virginia Beach, VA (36.74 N, -76.04 W) ran winter whalewatches off their coast. Some years there have been large numbers of whales off that part of the coast in the winter, and in other years none to be seen. This year they were lucky with a good supply of finbacks and juvenile humpbacks feeding on anchovies, menhaden and other small fish.

Challenge Question #9
"Why do you suppose the young humpbacks remained off the Virginia coast rather than migrate?"

The National Marine Fisheries Service and the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary are working together to prepare whalewatching guidelines for the Sanctuary and other areas along the NE US. I'll have those materials for you in my next report.

That's all for this report. This is Anne Smrcina, education coordinator for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, signing off.

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:

1. Address an e-mail message to:
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question #8 (or #9)
3. In the body of your message, answer the question above.

The Next Humpback Whale Migration Update will Be Posted on April 28, 1999.

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