Friday, 13 September 2013

Humpback Whale Populations Increase Off British Columbia

Humpback whale populations are on the rise in a small coastal area of British Columbia, a new estimate reveals, but researchers remain cautious about the whales' safety in the face of several human threats.

In the summer, the whales share space with a shipping channel that goes through the Caamaño Sound area, which is just south of the port city of Prince Rupert and midway up the province's coast. Whale collisions with freighters sometimes happen, and ship noise interferes with the feeding calls the humpbacks emit. Humpbacks can also get tangled in fishing gear and drown, or starve if the gear interferes with their ability to eat.

Canadian gas company Enbridge is considering a pipeline in the area that would bring oil from the tar sands in a neighboring province, Alberta, and pump it several thousand miles to the coast for shipping.

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