On Patrol for Rare Right Whales; Georgia Natural Resources Keeps an Eye on Their Safety

By Stepzinski, Teresa | The Florida Times Union, February 3, 2007 | Go to article overview

On Patrol for Rare Right Whales; Georgia Natural Resources Keeps an Eye on Their Safety


Stepzinski, Teresa, The Florida Times Union


Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

ST. SIMONS ISLAND - Cpl. Ron Harris and ranger Wil Smith carefully scanned the rolling dark-green swells Friday, hoping to glimpse a sliver of black amid the waves of the shipping channel 9 miles off St. Simons Island.

They strained to hear a rough gust of breath that would signal a northern right whale had breached the surface.

But the only sound that greeted the two Georgia Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers was the deep baritone horn of the channel marker buoy bobbing in the 5-foot swells that slapped their patrol boat.

The only thing they saw was mottled shadows reflecting the gun-metal gray skies overhead.

It was both good news and bad news, Harris said.

"It's good, because there are no whales in the ship channel that could be hit by a vessel. But it's bad, because there aren't that many right whales left anymore," Harris said.

The waters off Georgia and Northeast Florida are the only known calving grounds for the northern right whale, which is a critically endangered species.

There are an estimated 300 right whales remaining. From November through March, mother whales and their calves winter in the coastal waters close to commercial shipping lanes and some fishing grounds.

During that time, Harris and Smith, along with other Natural Resources officers, patrol the waters and shipping channel along the 118-mile Georgia coast, on the lookout for whales.

All department officers are deputized with the authority to enforce federal laws, which means they routinely patrol beyond the state's territorial 3-mile limit.

A mother and calf were recently seen swimming by the channel marker, Harris said.

"We mostly see mothers and calves down here," he said. "They are so pretty. It's really cool to see them. They aren't aggressive at all. They just mind their own business."

In the same area a couple of weeks ago, Natural Resources Cpl. Jesse Cook positioned his patrol boat between a whale and a passing cargo ship to ensure that a safe distance was maintained between the animal and vessel.

Both whale and ship passed without incident. Cook also radioed the whale's coordinates to maritime authorities so other vessels could avoid the whale, too.

"Whales can be anywhere. ... They are very hard to see in the water during the day, and no way to see them at night," Harris said. "They move kind of slow, and mostly they just go about their business and ignore most everything around them, including ships."

DANGEROUS WATERS

Collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear are the primary causes of death for right whales, which migrate along the East Coast of the United States, biologists have said.

Recent incidents off Georgia and the Northeast illustrate the vulnerability of the gentle behemoths.

On Dec. 30, a 41-foot right whale was discovered dead in the water about 20 miles off Jekyll Island. The 2-year-old whale had deep propeller wounds from head to tail. Researchers concluded the animal had died as the result of collision with a ship.

It was the sixth whale found dead last year along the Eastern seaboard, records showed.

On Jan. 15, a 45-foot right whale entangled in nylon rope was discovered swimming about 13 miles off the Georgia coast.

Natural Resources biologists were unable to disentangle it, but managed to attach a satellite tracking buoy to the dangling line. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

On Patrol for Rare Right Whales; Georgia Natural Resources Keeps an Eye on Their Safety
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.