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10th Dead Humpback Whale This Year Washes Ashore on Cape Cod
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=50747"><span class="small">Marie Szaniszlo, The Boston Herald</span></a>   
Thursday, 09 May 2019 08:28

Szaniszlo writes: "The 10th dead humpback whale in the region so far this year washed ashore in East Sandwich between Sunday night and Monday morning, the latest in a disturbing trend in recent years, advocates said."

Vector, a female humpback whale, is towed ashore on Sandy Neck Beach. The whale weighs 40 tons and is 13.6 meters. She has been known to Cape Cod waters since 1984. (photo: Faith Ninivaggi/Boston Herald)
Vector, a female humpback whale, is towed ashore on Sandy Neck Beach. The whale weighs 40 tons and is 13.6 meters. She has been known to Cape Cod waters since 1984. (photo: Faith Ninivaggi/Boston Herald)


10th Dead Humpback Whale This Year Washes Ashore on Cape Cod

By Marie Szaniszlo, The Boston Herald

09 May 19

 

he 10th dead humpback whale in the region so far this year washed ashore in East Sandwich between Sunday night and Monday morning, the latest in a disturbing trend in recent years, advocates said.

“We have an unusual mortality event that’s going on with humpback whales in the region, up and down from Maine to Florida,” said Tony LaCasse, a spokesman for the New England Aquarium. “Unfortunately, this is the 10th dead humpback in the region so far in 2019, which projects out to almost exactly the average over the last three years, when that number has been really elevated.”

Normal mortality for the region’s humpback whales is about 11 per year, LaCasse said.

The body of the 45-foot-long, 40-ton female humpback named Vector was first spotted on Saturday and made landfall between Sunday night and Monday morning on Stellwagen Bank, said Melanie Mahoney, a spokeswoman for the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which will perform a necropsy to determine the cause and manner of the whale’s death.

Jamie McWilliams, education director of Cape Ann Whale Watch in Gloucester, said she spotted Vector floating dead but didn’t notice any sign of entanglement in fishing gear, one common cause of whale deaths; another is collisions with ships.

“It’s devastating,” McWilliams said. “We see these animals we know and love. This is our backyard and their home.”

Vector was first documented by researchers from the Center for Coastal Studies in 1984 and was seen regularly in the Gulf of Maine over the years, during which she had five confirmed calves, said Cathrine Macort, a CCS spokeswoman.

Humpback whales are tracked using photo identification of their flukes, or tails, each of which has a pattern as unique as fingerprints are to humans, Macort said.

In 1970, the federal government listed all humpback whales as endangered after commercial whaling drastically reduced their numbers. But North Atlantic humpback whales were removed from the endangered-species list in 2016.

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+2 # tsyganka 2019-05-09 17:34
from "The Song of the World's Last Whale" by Pete Seeger:

* * * * * * * * * * * *
I heard the song
Of the world's last whale
As I rocked in the moonlight
And reefed the sail
"It'll happen to you
Also without fail
If it happens to me,"
Sang the world's last whale

* * * * * * * * * * * *
And so it is.