Keeping Busy In The Bay

Reef lifts his head. Photo: Yan Guilbault

Since our first day of right whale sightings on July 25, the Bay of Fundy has been keeping us so busy! On July 27, we found an aggregation of 11 whales around the same location where we found them previously! We resighted several individuals, but were also pleased to find a few new whales had moved into the area. One of them, Scoop (Catalog #1327), appears to have declined in health since we photographed him with new entanglement wounds in Roseway Basin last summer.

Scoop shows signs of poor health. Photo: Amy Knowlton
Scoop's healing scars. Photo: Elizabeth Burgess

After two days on land, we surveyed the Bay again on July 30. The first right whale that we found was identified as Lemur (Catalog #3380), whose fluke was struck by a propeller which healed as a very unique wound. To add to the large genetic bank of this species, we need to collect a biopsy sample of skin and blubber from Lemur, which means firing a specialized dart which pulls the sample for us. Yan has specialized training in this technique, and has helped build the genetic database through his numerous successful dartings. Unfortunately, Lemur evaded the scientists again and we’re hoping to encounter him in the Bay another time this summer.

A propeller mangled Lemur's fluke. Photo: Marianna Hagbloom
The team works together to biopsy dart Lemur. Photo: Elizabeth Burgess

We continued on with the day and found ten individual right whales, with a few animals who we were becoming quite familiar with. The residency of the whales is very encouraging, since it means something here is holding their interest (likely, food!).

Can you see the ram shaped scars that gave Aries his name? Photo: Yan Guilbault