As one of the most commonly visited cities in the world, New York City is a tourist haven for all kinds of people. However, it would appear that it isn’t just man and woman desperate to make their way to NYC; whales are keen, too. That’s why the number of whales appearing off the waters of NYC have increased a whopping 540% in the last eight years.
Research experts at Gotham Whale, a non-profit firm, started to take a look at the increase of whales. The identified five whales off the local waters in 2010 across the whole of the year. In 2018, though, we have a ridiculous 272 – that’s a HUGE jump. And many of them are humpback whales, too.
There are many reasons why this is being considered, but in a conversation with Patch, Gotham Whale founder Paul Sieswerda spoke about why he fought this was happening on such a regular basis. And for once, it’s a good thing!
The Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, and Marine Mammal Protection Act have been a trifecta of good for helping the lives of whales nearby. However, the reduction of pollution in the Hudson River has also played a major role in cutting down on this worrying issue.
When speaking to Patch about this, Sieswerda said: “So the Hudson River, instead of bringing out pollution to the areas we see whales—the lower estuary and the area right outside the mouth of the Hudson—it’s bringing nutrients,”
The nutritional boost is seemingly just what these beautiful creatures are looking for, too, which makes it even more likely that they will come on down to check it out. They also help Menhaden, which are a major source of food for these creatures. Without them as such a reliable food source, the whale would be in more trouble.
An impressive size and scale
It’s not just the volume of whales, though – it is the sheer size of them, too. In fact, Gotham Whale were noticing whales as large as 60ft in size. “The sheer size alone is incredible,” Sieswerda said.
“They’re like buses, and to think that’s a living animal and to think that it has the power and grace to completely jump out of the water when they breach is a spectacle that I think is unique to the animal kingdom.”
By using identification of the whales via their unique tail pattern, the group has managed to get used to counting and specifically noting all of the whales they find. When a whale is spotted, Gotham Whale adds them to their list of whales spotted.
With numbers going up and the positive environmental impact being a major reason for that, it’s good to see for once a story about humanity not wiping out some poor species. Instead, our actions to help them appear to have resulted in a net benefit for everyone – win/win!