Photo: Elaine Thompson/AP

You love whales? Read RCI’s reports on them

You love whales and plan to go whale watching this summer? Read our articles on these fascinating creatures, the dangers they’re facing and the numerous projects and studies that have been launched to protect them.

Changes made to protect endangered right whales

By Lynn DesjardinsThursday 13 July, 2017

© Department of Fisheries and Oceans

The Canadian government has issued new directives in a bid to protect the endangered North Atlantic Right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There are about 525 of these creatures left in the world and seven have died there recently. more

Man dies rescuing whale

By Lynn DesjardinsTuesday 11 July, 2017

© International Fund for Animal Welfare/CBC

Joe Howlett died after cutting a whale free of fishing line off the coast of New Brunswick in eastern Canada today. It was the last of about two dozen whales he has helped rescue since 2002. Canadian Press reporter Alison Auld was told the 59-year-old fisherman was hit by the whale which suddenly flipped after he cut the last line... more

Shocking right whale deaths: necropsies

By Marc MontgomeryMonday 3 July, 2017

Right Whale. Photo: Canadian Whale-Institute

It was a shock to marine biologists and conservationists everywhere. In a period of just a couple of weeks, six endangered right whales were found dead in the Gulf of St Lawrence. It’s a devastating blow to those hoping for recovery of the northern right whale as there are only a mere 500 left… more

Right whales dying in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

By Carmel KilkennyTuesday 27 June, 2017

Photo: MICS

Right whales are dying near the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Canada’s east coast, and no one knows why. Six carcasses have been discovered since June 6th, and Isabelle Elliott of Canada’s Fisheries Department said… more

Environmental groups slam government plans to allow oil and gas drilling in proposed marine protected area

By Levon SevuntsMonday 26 June, 2017

Humpaback whales near Newfoundland. Photo: Kurt Sullivan

Environmental groups are blasting the Liberal government’s plan to allow oil and gas exploration in a proposed marine protected area off the southwest coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in the Atlantic Ocean. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada released an impact statement… more

Aha! So that’s what it’s for! Narwhal tusk mystery-solved

By Marc MontgomeryWednesday 17 May, 2017

Photo: Glenn Williams- N.I.S.T. (US)

The narwhal has intrigued people for hundreds of years. It’s long spear-like tusk a source of mystery and often wild speculation.   The tusk is actually an overgrown canine tooth. The tusks which can grow to around 2.7 metres have been speculated to be related to territorial defence,  a mating signal… more

Climate change, changing predator-prey habits in Arctic

By Marc MontgomeryThursday 23 February, 2017

Killer whales travel and hunt in pods land work together like a wolf pack to corner and attack their prey. © David Ellifrit/Center for Whale Research)

Researchers had thought this might happen. With the Arctic sea ice melting sooner, and forming later, and with decreasing ice extent, one of the world’s biggest predators, the killer whale, has been moving further into new areas, and for longer periods.more

Government talks noise abatement to protect whales

By Lynn DesjardinsWednesday 21 December, 2016

© Dave Ellifrit/Centre for Whale Research

Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc told the Canadian Press that he is seeking to regulate underwater shipping noise as part of a strategy to protect a group of endangered orca whales off Canada’s west coast. Noise is likely to increase now that the government has approved expansion of the TransMountain pipeline to ship oil to Burnaby, British Columbia… more

Seismic testing could kill ‘delightful’ bottlenose whales: scientist

By Lynn DesjardinsThursday 24 November, 2016

© Sierra Club Canada Foundation

Scientists have found a new population of Northern bottlenose whales off Canada’s east coast and are worried they will be harmed by seismic testing for oil and gas. This type of whale is typically about 10 metres long. It dives deep to feed on deep-water squid and must come to the surface to breathe,,, more

Technology gives new insight into whale behaviour

By Marc MontgomeryMonday 24 October, 2016

By oberving unobtrusively from the air, researchers discovered the whales wer touching and rubbing each other much more often than previously thought
© LGL Limited, UBC, VDOS Global, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and WWF-Canada

We know a little about whales, but often have more questions than answers. Traditional observation done by following whales and pods in boats, gives only limited knowledge of behaviour at the surface and may in fact disturb them thereby possibly altering their habits…. more

Where have the whales gone, and why?

By Marc MontgomeryWednesday 5 October, 2016

Rules have been created for shipping in the known Right whale habitat, but scientists are concerned that the whales may be moving into areas where there are no mitigation measures and ship strikes are more likely
© Kara Mahoney Robinson/New England Aquarium)

Researchers tracking the Atlantic Right whale have been somewhat concerned that the whales are not showing up in their usual summer feeding grounds in and around the northeastern US and eastern Canada. They are now using sophisticated technology to try to find the whales in a project called WHaLE (Whales Habitat Listening Experiment)… more

The belugas of St Lawrence: serious decline

By Marc MontgomeryFriday 9 September, 2016

Beluga mother and calf. The Beluga of the St Lawrence as of this week are listed as endangered as their numbers continue to decline.
© J. Klenner, DFO

This week the federal government officially recognized the continuing decline in numbers of the white whales  of the St Lawrence estuary by changing their status. Previously labelled as “threatened” the beluga are now listed in the more worrisome category of “endangered”…. more

Whale of an encounter off Tadoussac

By Carmel KilkennyTuesday 2 August, 2016

© youtube

Tourists from France are going home with a whale of a tale, after an incredible encounter in the St. Lawrence River near Tadoussac, Quebec on Sunday, July 31st. Eric Mouellic, in Quebec on a first visit to Canada with his family, posted three videos of the experience to YouTube.more

Unusual whale behaviour scares fisherman

By Lynn DesjardinsTuesday 12 July, 2016

© Norman Strickland

Norman Strickland said he “was really, really scared” when five or six orca whales surrounded and bumped his small boat off Canada’s eastern shore on Saturday. The boat is 5.5 metres long and the whales, he estimates, were over four metres long… more

Manitoba wants Ottawa to protect Hudson Bay beluga whales

By Levon SevuntsFriday 8 January, 2016

Belugas consistently spend each summer on the western Hudson Bay coast and in the Nelson, Churchill and Seal river estuaries.
Belugas consistently spend each summer on the western Hudson Bay coast and in the Nelson, Churchill and Seal river estuaries. © (The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Oceans North Canada)

Canada’s western province of Manitoba wants the federal government to preserve vital habitat for the world’s largest population of beluga whales along the western coast of Hudson Bay, according to a report released Friday. Manitoba’s Beluga Habitat Sustainability Plan, calls on Ottawa to amend the Federal Arctic Waters Pollution Act (AWPPA) and create a new national marine conservation area… more

The drag effect of fishing gear entanglements on whales

By Marc MontgomeryTuesday 5 January, 2016

La baleine noire était empêtrée dans un lourd cordage.
© International Fund for Animal Welfare

We’ve all seen too many images of whales tangled in fishing gear.  This is heavy stuff, and the ropes can cut into the whale skin causing serious and potentiall deadly infections and injuries. However, dragging the weight through the water also can kill, simply by causing an excessive expenditure of energy and hampering feedingmore

Whales too have “culture”

By Marc MontgomeryWednesday 30 September, 2015

A new study suggests young sperm whales pick up their dialects through cultural learning.
A new study suggests young sperm whales pick up their dialects through cultural learning, adding more weight to the theory that culture is not a uniquely human trait © Chris Bangs/Guam Variety News/Associated Press

People tend to adopt habits from those they associate with. This could be things like clothing, or speech patterns and dialects. A Canadian study of sperm whales has found out this “cultural” adaptation occurs with the whales as well. Also in human society those individuals that “understand” each other tend to associate… more

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