East Coast Ecosystems Research Organization is a charitable organization dedicated to education and research about natural processes and human involvement in nature. Since 1986, East Coast Ecosystems has been conducting shipboard surveys in collaboration with the New England Aquarium (Boston Massachusetts) in the Bay of Fundy between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and on the Southern Scotian Shelf to study the seasonal distribution, abundance, and behavior of the endangered North Atlantic right whale. These areas in the waters of Atlantic Canada are two of the "high use" habitat areas that have been identified for right whales in the western North Atlantic. More than 50% of the individually identified right whales are seen in these two Canadian areas each year. Our knowledge of right whales is based on our ability to distinguish between individuals. The New England Aquarium has been compiling a photographic catalogue of right whales since 1980. This information allows us to enumerate the population and from resightings of known individuals to monitor the animals reproductive status, associations, and migrations. East Coast Ecosystems uses the results of this original research to promote awareness of the plight of the right whale and other marine mammals in Canadian waters through it`s education program. Our goal is to compile the scientific evidence and foster the public support necessary to encourage the federal government to develope sound practices of ocean management to ensure the recovery and the survival of the North Atlantic right whale.
The North Atlantic right whale remains in a precarious position. So named by whalers because it was the "right Whale" to kill; the early abundance and accessibility of right whales likely provided the impetus for the commercial whaling industry. Prized by whalers as early as the 2nd century for it's high oil yield and long baleen or "whale bone", the history of the right whale's undoing spanned 8 centuries resulting in the right whale being hunted to commercial extinction by the late 19th century. While right whales have been protected from commercial whaling by international agreement since 1935, the population has failed to show any significant signs of recovery - no more than 350 remain in the North Atlantic. Although whaling no longer presents a hazard to these whales, more immediate dangers exist. Strong evidence suggests the right whale's failure to recover can be attributed to impacts on the species including; mortality from collisions with ships and fishing gear entanglements, degradation or loss of critical habitat, inbreeding, or an inherently low reproductive rate. There are good reasons to believe that if human actions on right whales and their habitat areas were reduced, the chances for the recovery of this species would be enhanced.
How You Can Help
You can actively participate in the fate of the rarest large whale on Earth. By becoming a part of the East Coast Ecosystem right whale adoption program you will accomplish a number of things:
Your money will go directly towards costs involved in right whale education conservation and research programs.
You will have educated yourself and hopefully others about the plight of the right whale.
For a tax deductible donation of $35.00, you can adopt a right whale. You will receive an 8x10 certificate of adoption suitable for framing with a 4x6 photograph of the whale of your choice and a right whale fact sheet and composite drawing showing the distinguishing features and the unique sighting history of your whale. During the year following your contribution you will receive a newsletter which includes updates on research, animals seen, conservation efforts, and new calves born into the population.
The Whale for Adoption
Calvin is the only true orphan in the adoption program. At the age of 8 months, Calvin was forcibly weaned when his mother was struck by a ship and killed in September of 1992. After searching for days for the orphaned calf, researchers lost hope it could survive on its own. We were surprised and thrilled to discover Calvin in the Bay of Fundy the following year. Needless to say, Calvin holds a special place in our hearts.
Anchor was first sighted east of Cape Cod in 1979. Since that time she has given birth to four calves born in 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1993. Her calving history suggests she will calve again in 1996 or 1997. One of less than 55 breeding females in the entire population, every calf she contributes is of vital importance to the survival of the species.
Gemini is an adult male seen every year since 1979. Named for the twin scars on his back that resemble the constellation Gemini. He is one of the active males seen participating in surface active groups on the mating grounds of Nova Scotia.
Necklace, another adult male was so named because when researchers first sighted him in the Bay of Fundy in 1981 he was dragging a piece of netting around his tail stock. He is just one of the many right whales who have been entangled in fishing gear over the years. Some whales survive the experience, others do not.
Lucky is a young female born in 1991 near Jacksonville, Florida, the calving area for the less than 350 right whales that survive in the North Atlantic. Lucky already bears scars of a propeller strike and several large gashes appear on her left flank. Lucky to be alive after her encounter with the propeller, she continues to be sighted on a regular basis.