The Marine Resources Council's Right Whale Monitoring Program was established in 1995 to reduce human impacts to the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Citizens on the east coast of Florida report land‑based sightings of right whales to our hotline (1‑888‑97‑WHALE). This information is passed on to local ship traffic to avoid ship strikes, which account for over one‑third of documented right whale deaths in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Volunteers Help Name Right Whale

It was announced on Nov. 5th at the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium annual meeting that last season's only first time mom nowhas a name, thanks in part by the Right Whale Volunteer Sighting Network.  Catalog #3546, a 9-year-old female that frequented Brevard County in March 2014 (and traversed the Canaveral ship channel at least six times) was successfully named 'Halo,' as suggested by Becki Smith, a member of the Marineland Right Whale Project (MRWP).  During aerial photo-ID documentation, Becki noticed that #3546's six post-blowhole callosities appear to make a semi-circle on the top of her head (see photo).  It was reminiscent of a halo, and the idea was born.  During the summer, Julie Albert, MRC's Right Whale Conservation Program Coordinator, requested that #3546 be added to a short list of whales to be considered for a name in 2014.  The New England Aquarium added her to the list, a number of suggestions were made for various names, voting took place among researchers, more voting took place to break ties, and finally... #3546 got her name... Halo.  This is the first time the Volunteer Sighting Network has successfully helped name a right whale!  Many thanks to Becki for the suggestion, to Joy Hampp and the Marineland Right Whale Project for helping to photograph her that day and several times last season, to the researchers who voted for the name, and to everyone who helps protect these whales.  We're looking forward to Halo's return!