Bowhead whale spotted off Cape Cod for the first time
Bowhead whale in a Surface Active Group with North Atlantic right whales off the coast of Orleans, Mass.
ORLEANS (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – For the first time in recorded history, a bowhead whale which typically lives in the northern reaches of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans was spotted off Cape Cod.
The bowhead whale was spotted in the waters east of Orleans by researchers during an aerial survey in March 2012.
The whale, a juvenile approximately 43 feet long, was engaged in social behavior with a group of mostly young North Atlantic right whales.
Not only is this the southern-most record of a bowhead whale in the North Atlantic, but it is also the first documented interaction between bowhead whales and right whales.
Bowheads, which are related to the right whale, have very thick blubber that provides both insulation and energy storage, and can remain underwater for up to 35 minutes. They are protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Dr. Cynthia Tynan, a scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies, believes that the southerly appearance of the bowhead is due to the impacts of climate change on the ice-associated ecosystem.
PHOTO CAPTION: Bowhead whale in a Surface Active Group with
North Atlantic right whales off the coast of Orleans, Mass.