Page 23 - The Whales in Cape Breton's Waters
ISSUE : Issue 16
Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/6/1
in the wintertime and anyone who sees a whale in the wintertime and can document it with a photo, that would be good. Each whale has a diagnostic feature;if you see that you can name it, and can convince me. Like the Minke Whale has a white patch on the flipper. The Fin Whale has a white lower right jaw • just as it comes up you C2tn see that on the right side--the Blue v'/hale doesn't have that. The Blue / lhale has the U-shaped rostrum looking down on it. The Fin 'ale has a V-shaped rostrum like the Sei Whale and the Minke. "Strandings are also important. Quite con? ceivably in Cape Breton's history you have had a Sperm Whale stramding. One in deep water may have come ashore to die; it may have died at sea. In Newfoundland a few years ago they had a live Sperm Whale stranding. The animal only lived a few hours. It was probably sick as it was out of its natural habitat. It would be liv? ing and eating about 100 miles off-shore. You may have had large baleen strandings as well. Information of this kind would be invaluable. Ask your readers to send in information • especially photographs and news clippings stuck in the attic. Ask them to write descriptions of evidence other than pictures • like bones. "Another thing to ask your readers for • has anybody seen the thrasher and the swordfish attacking a whale? This is a well-known story in different p'rts of the world. The thrasher and the swordfish. The story goes as follows: that the thrasher and the swordfish attack a whale simultaneously. The swordfish comes up from underneath and cuts the whale's bel? ly and the thrasher flies up throiigh the air and lands on top of the whale at the same time. And if this can be documented by a photograph, showing both species plus the whale • first of all it would tell us what these species are • they may be thrash? er sharks', they may be killer whales, they may be swordfisho And secondly, there is no evidence in the rest of the world that two species can communicate to the extent they can attack a third species simultane? ously. And if the fishermen's stories are correct • and we have now several dozen of them from this area and about 50 from a- round the world • then you would have evi? dence of a fairly high degree of communi? cation between species that really has ne? ver been discovered. Your readers should write if they've seen anything like this. "There is less thaui 1% of knowledge of whales as compared with vdiat's knovm about other animals. People live v/ith monkeys and v/rite whole books. But you see whales for a minute and they dive for 10 or 15 minutes • and you don't know what they do beneath the surface. Ve have no informa? tion at night and no information in the wintertime • and that's a lot of lack of information." Humpback's nose (photo Scott Krauss); characteristic hump as it rocs into terminal dive, tollowed bytlukes as it dives for about 10 minutes (photos Peter Beamish). We hope our readers will write to us about whale experiences and stranding either 3.n recent years or long ago. It would be good to hear of traditional stories relat? ing to whales. Please search out old photos and newsclippings and write to us about about bones that have been found. All this information will be passed along to Peter Beamish at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography. Our thanks to Peter Beamish, Bedford Institute'of Oceanography/ and to D,W. Sergeant of the Arctic Biological Station, for supplying us with considerable materials in preparation for this article. Our thanks as well to Arnet Sheppard, NATURE CAI'ADX, and Dr. Edward Mitchell, Arctic Biological Station, for permission to use the draw? ings done by Bonnie Dalzell and Betty Osborne under Dr. Mitchell's direction and published in NATURE CANADA Oct/Dec 1973. We recommend taking an active interest in the work of GREENPEACE, 2007,W. 4th Ave.. Vancouver, B,C.. V6J lN3~and PROJECT JONAH Box 476, Bolinas, California, 94924. Send each a donation and ask for literature a- bout their work to save the whales. Suggested further reading; Ommanney''s LOST LEVI- Mclntyre's MIND IN TliE >VATERS, AUDUBON MAGAZINE, January, 1975.
Cape Breton's Magazine