Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Humpback Whale - Threatened Species in Canada

The Humpback whales summer grounds extend from British Columbia to the Gulf of Alaska. In winter they can be found off Baja, California and Hawaii.

The Humpback whales are usually found in small numbers, but have been in groups as large as 200. The males are 47 feet and the females 49 feet in length, weighing from 25 to 45 tons. They reproduce every two or more years to birth a calf that is 15 feet long and two tons. The calf drinks its mother’s milk until 11 months old and remains with its mother for a year or longer. Males produce a complex whale song, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. These whales can live between 45 and 50 years of age.

The Humpback whales feed on krill, small shrimp-like crustaceans and a variety of small fish.

Due to commercial whaling less than 2,000 Humpback whales are found in the North Pacific. After becoming protected, the endangered whales are making a comeback. Fisheries and Oceans Canada report the Humpback whale has grown to nearly 20,000 worldwide with approximately 2,000 whales in the northern Pacific. They maintain that the protection be continued to ensure long-term survival for the species.

From a further source which updates the Government of Canada site in another location, the status of the Humpback Whale in Canada has been changed from Endangered to Threatened.

The following information on the Humpback Whale in Canada is from

"The humpback whale is designated as Threatened by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC).

"COSEWIC’s assessment of the North Pacific population of humpback whales is as follows:

"Heavily reduced by whaling, the North Pacific population appears to be increasing. The number of animals that use British Columbia waters is probably in the low hundreds. The high-level of feeding ground fidelity suggests that if animals are exterminated from a particular area, it is unlikely that the area will be rapidly repopulated from other areas. Two extirpated British Columbia populations have shown no sign of rescue. Humpbacks are occasionally entangled in fishing gear, though the number entangled is not thought to threaten or limit the population. In summary, humpback whales that use British Columbia waters appear to be well below historical numbers and have not returned to some portions of their former range."

Research:, Fisheries and Oceans Canada.


Gary's third pottery blog said...

only 2000 to 20,000, that's all????

Barbara Martin said...

Gary, sad I know. These are the figures provided by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The 2,000 are for those Humpback whales off the B.C. coast up to the Gulf of Alaska.

The Grandpa said...

Whales are magnificent creatures and fascinating to watch. It's sad what we do to other species in the name of commerce and industry.

Merisi said...

Such gentle giants,
and how have we treated them?
I hope they can be saved in great enough numbers for our children and their children's children. Lets hope that by then the world is a little wiser.

Barbara, I will try to get to the Riding Stables as soon as possible, to bring you some pictures (I linked in my comment box to one of mine, which I took one evening a year ago).

Charles Gramlich said...

Even though the numbers are coming back, they still remain genetically damaged because of a loss of variation in their gene pool. They will be vulnerable for a long time.

Barbara Martin said...

Grandpa, I agree.

Merisi, at least enough numbers that they can safely reproduce enough to replace those in existence now.

Barbara Martin said...

Charles, I agree with you.

Arija said...

Barbara, what a sad but beautiful post. Thr clip showing the splashdown technique wassuperb, especially that one great bull-whale!
This last week we lost some 200 Minky whales off the Australian coast. There were two large strandings and only a few were herded back out to sea.

Cloudia said...

Thank you, Barbara.
To nurture, to appreciate, and not to despair is our task. Aloha-

RuneE said...

They made some powerful splashes! I'm glad they are endangered no more. Wish we could say the same for all the other species on the Earth.

Barbara Martin said...

Cloudia, wise words that could be applied to everything we encounter.

RuneE, thank you for advising me of the status change. I have amended the post to reflect this.

Shelley Munro said...

The population of humpback in the south has also grown after they were protected.

Each year Japan comes south with fishing boats to hunt the Right whales. They take them for "scientific research" and last year they decided to take humpback as well, despite protests from Australia and New Zealand. In the end they backed down and luckily their fishing season was cut short when one of their boats caught on fire. This year the boats are heading down again. As usual, Greenpeace boats will hound their fishing boats. Austalia intend to research this year as well to show it can be done without killing the whales.

RuneE said...

Me again: Thank you for the very pleasant comment on my picture! It is the first time I have seriously tried to do it this way and I have received a lot of nice feed-back, so I may use it some more if I get the chance.

Barbara Martin said...

RuneE, you're very welcome as your photographs are excellent.

Julie Robinson said...

I checked out your site after seeing your post on Shelley Munro's site. I ended up watching the Whale Song Video. OMG, that was so beautiful. To see that huge creature so gracefully enjoying the sunshine was truly awe-inspiring. I still have goose bumps. Thank you.

I’m going to have to watch that UTube pic again before bed. It just fills my head with beautiful thoughts. Julie

Barbara Martin said...

Arija, I was wondering if the strandings are caused by the toxic petroleum wastes left in the oceans by the tankers. The chemical side effects on humans cause nerve damage, therefore it should do the same on whales.

Barbara Martin said...

Shelley, thank you for this added information.

Barbara Martin said...

Julie, I'm pleased you stopped by to visit.

There are many sights in this world to stimulate the creativity of writers. Nature does for me, and hopefully for you as well.