Billions of US $ for bankers, zero for whales

This video from the USA says about itself:

Sighting of a rare, less than 350 left in the world, Right Whale on the Granite State Whale Watch Vessel out of Rye Harbor, NH, August 1, 2007.

From Associated Press in the USA:

March 15, 2009 2:40 p.m. PT

Monitoring of rare whales near NY harbor ends


ALBANY, N.Y. — Monitoring for endangered right whales off New York harbor is ending because the project has lost funding in the state’s current budget crunch.

Acoustic monitoring by Cornell scientists shows the rare right whales swimming off the harbor, where federal officials have recently lowered ship speed limits to help protect the slow-moving mammals during migrations from Florida to New England and Canada.

Monitors that have recorded the whales’ calls south of Long Island for a year are not being replaced, scientists said.

“We just brought them in last week,” said Chris Clark, director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “We ran out of money. We had to stop the process for right now.”

Biologists estimate 300 to 400 North Atlantic right whales remain, having been fished to commercial extinction a century ago and vulnerable now to ship collisions and entanglement in fishing gear.

The whales generally migrate south in November and December to calving grounds, and return north in February through April to feeding grounds.

“They’re running a gauntlet twice a year for months at a time,” Clark said. “That’s the train wreck, and nobody’s paid any attention to New York very much at all. There are a lot of efforts going on in New England, and a lot of efforts in Georgia and Florida.”

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has supported the project, which began in spring 2008.

But Gov. David Paterson has ordered spending cuts from the DEC and other state agencies as New York faces an estimated $14 billion budget deficit in the fiscal year that starts April 1.

Right whales can reach 50 feet and 70 tons, are often found in coastal waters, and with about 40 percent blubber tend to stay near the surface, which made them easy prey for whalers.


On the Net:

7 thoughts on “Billions of US $ for bankers, zero for whales



    March 28, 2009
    Posted: 3:08 am

    BOSTON — Nearly a quarter of the world’s population of North Atlantic right whales, one of the most endangered species on earth, have gathered off Cape Cod in a rare feeding frenzy, scientists say.

    The nearly 80 right whales are the largest number seen in Cape Cod Bay for this time of year, scientists said. They attributed the spectacle to an unusually large presence of zooplankton — the whales’ favorite food.

    “It’s a pretty special sight in a tiny embankment so close to land,” said Charles Mayo, a scientist at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies.

    Copyright Reuters


  2. Ancient whale skeleton uncovered under Swedish motorway

    Published: 1 Jun 09 09:34 CET


    A whale skeleton, thought to be around 10,000 years-old, has been uncovered during construction of the E6 motorway near Strömstad in western Sweden.

    The skeleton of the ancient whale is 15-20 metres long and is as good as intact, according to a statement from Gothenburg University, whose team of zoologists are examining the find which was made in the middle of April south of the small community of Skee.

    The researchers are keen to establish whether the find is the mystical “Swedenborg’s whale”. They have so far been able to confirm that the skeleton is of a right whale.

    There are currently four identified species of right whale and the university reports that the size and dimensions of the bones indicate that the whale could belong to a fifth species – identified by the natural scientist Emmanuel Swedenborg in the 18th century.

    “There are previous skeleton finds in western Sweden which are believed to be the Swedenborg right whale. But to determine the species of whale bones found buried in soil is complicated and it is therefore not yet ascertained whether the whale actually existed,” explained Thomas Dahlgren, a zoologist who is leading the research at Gothenburg University.

    Dahlgren and his colleague Leif Jonsson are now working with researchers at the Natural History Museum in London to analyse DNA tests collected from the skeleton.

    The discovery has also generated excitement as traces were found of several further marine organisms, including several extinct species.

    The whale skeleton is thought to be 10,000 years-old and was found 75 metres above sea level, a location which at the time lay a distance out to sea.

    Discussions are currently ongoing as to whether the bones can be put on display for the general public.

    Peter Vinthagen Simpson ( 8 656 6518)


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