Saturday, March 12, 2011

Humpback Whale Moves On

NEWS-TIMES

Published: Tuesday, March 8, 2011 2:24 PM EST


MIKE SHUTAK

Cedar Island — A recent visitor to Carteret County appears to have moved on. The humpback whale that first appeared in Core Sound Monday hasn’t been seen since that afternoon. 
Dr. Vicky Thayer with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network received a call Monday from the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries and another from WITN Channel 7 News. A humpback whale had been reported in Core Sound near Cedar Island. Dr. Thayer headed out into the field Monday afternoon to confirm the whale’s presence.
“I would guess that the whale came in through a nearby inlet,” she said. “When we saw the whale, it was headed southeast and traveling about four knots (4.6 mph). We hope that it heads back out an inlet.”
Dr. Thayer said they plan to monitor the whale’s movements and status and respond as necessary. The whale was last sighted southeast of Thoroughfare Inlet on Monday. Dr. Thayer said the whale hadn’t been seen Tuesday and hopes that it has moved back out to the open ocean and isn’t in any distress. 
Humpback whales are an endangered species, known for being vocal. Their underwater calls, known as songs, can carry long distances and can go on for hours. The whales can grow to 48-62.5 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons.
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Humpback whales aren’t an uncommon sight in North Carolina. Dr. Thayer said the whales are most frequently seen in the winter and spring.

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