Thursday, 16 August 2012

Fin Whale's last days in Baltimore

After the blue whale the Fin Whale is the second largest animal in the world, and the fastest swimming of the large whales.  It can travel up to 180 miles a day when migrating, and reach speeds of 30 mph.  It feeds at depths of 200 feet or on the surface where it trawls for food by scooping up water. 

Fin whales can grow to 82 feet long, but a relatively small 45ft one came to Baltimore to rest.  These whales can be found traveling throughout the worlds major oceans.  They are solitary mammals and prefer traveling alone or in small pods rather than building long-lasting family bonds and relationships.  This one had obviously been injured and had blood and scars on its back.  We watched it breathe by falling down into the water and then coming up to blow through the hole on its back.  Here it is....

..and here are the crowds who came to see it.

The Whale was upset and malnourished.  Fishermen and whale experts tried to encourage it back out to sea but it didnt seem to want to, even at high tide.  Simon Berrow of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group said  “It is a relief really, as we were all expecting it to die last night.  It was very distressed this morning and we were beginning to consider alternative options to put it out of its misery.”

We saw it on its second day in the harbour, resting against the wall.  It died the next day and will soon be towed out to sea.

There are more facts about Fin Whales here and more about the Baltimore whale here.

Fin Whale Statistics
Maximum length: 25m (82ft) males / 27m (89ft) females, average 20m (66ft)
Adult weight: 50 tonnes average, but up to 130 tonnes
Life span: 90 years
Sexual maturity: 8-12 years
11-12 months
Birth length: 6-6.5m (20-21ft)
Birth weight: 2000kg (4400 lbs)
Dive duration: 20 mins
Distribution: all oceans, several genetically isolated stocks
Current world population: 85 000 / pre-whaling - 400 000