#16: Calvin returns to the Bay

Great news! Calvin, #2223, one of the most famous right whales in the population, has returned to the Bay of Fundy. We sighted her on Sept 2 with her calf of the year by her side. This was her first sighting in northern waters since giving birth on the southeast U.S. calving ground early this year.

For those of you who don't know her story, Calvin was born in 1992 and it was during her first summer in the Bay of Fundy that her mother, Delilah, was killed by a shipstrike, leaving Calvin an orphan. We didn't think Calvin would survive without her mother, but amazingly she did. She was named (before her sex was known) after the character in the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes.

Like that little boy, Calvin the right whale showed resourcefulness and a surprisingly independent nature. Since then we've watched her grow up and have followed her exploits in the various habitats in which she's been sighted. In 2000, she became entangled in fishing gear but luckily was disentangled by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies in 2001. She still bears the scars on her head, body and peduncle from that experience. And in 2005 Calvin became a mother for the first time and brought her calf to the Bay of Fundy, just as her mother had done 13 years earlier.

Over the years Calvin's story has been used to illustrate the troubling issue of ship strikes--they are the leading cause of right whale mortality--and to help move the shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy so they no longer cut through the main concentration of whales.

You can read more about Calvin and her namesake student scientists, The Calvineers, in the 2008 blog. Calvin is also one of our sponsorship whales, so if you'd like to follow her in the future you can sponsor her or visit the Catalog website.

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