Southern Right Whale Essay

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Ecology and behaviour The southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) is a medium to large baleen whale, reaching a maximum length of 17.5m. Colour patterning is variable, ranging from black to grey-brown (Harcourt et al. 2012). Distinguishing features include a rotund body with no dorsal fin and callosities (caused by colonised cyamids, small crustaceans, on keratinised skin patches) on the head (Harcourt et al. 2012). Each individual has a unique callosity pattern that occurs a few months after birth and can be used to identify individuals in research studies. The southern right whale gives birth approximately every three years. Evidence from stable isotope analysis and satellite tagging provides evidence that the southern right whale returns…show more content…
Provide scientific advice to related management authorities with regards to cetacean behavior and ecology in Walker Bay. Materials and methods Study site The study site (Fig.1) is situated in Walker Bay which is located on the coast of South Africa, stretching between 34.628, 34.418° S and 19.123, 19.292° E (van Beuningen 2013). The Walker Bay Marine Protected Area (Fig.1) is seasonally closed from 1 June to 30 November during the southern right whale breeding season and divided into two sections, including a whale sanctuary that is closed to all anthropogenic activities and a Restricted Area that is open to permitted boat-based whale-watching vessels and line fishing (de Villiers 2014). The Walker Bay Marine Protected area (Fig.1) is enclosed by the following points: The Westcliffe bea-con 34º25'.782” S; 19º13'.768” E then east and south east along the coastline to a point north of the Gans Bay North breakwater 34º34'.681” S; 19º20'.628” E to the Westcliffe beacon 34º25'.782” S; 19º13'.768” E. The Whale Sanctuary and Restricted Area (Fig.1) is divided by a line stretching from a point onshore at Sopiesklip 34º27'.1995” S; 19º20'.119” E to a point offshore of Sopiesklip 34º29'.655” S; 19º16'.80”…show more content…
Anthropogenic noise in the coastal areas where whales occur needs to be assessed and appropriately addressed. Fishing entanglement numbers need to be evaluated to determine threat level and possible methods for reducing numbers need to be developed. The impacts that climate change and variability have on the southern right whale need to be analysed. Other human impacts, such as, the effects of coastal and infrastructure development, and vessel collisions, also need to be evaluated with the prospect of finding less harmful
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