From the community

Adopt a Whale for the Holidays

Posted Nov. 13, 2013, at 3:32 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 15, 2013, at 9:45 a.m.

BAR HARBOR, ME—This summer, scientists from College of the Atlantic’s marine mammal research lab Allied Whale kicked off their 2013 field season with a welcoming breach from Gemini, one of the oldest male humpback whales known to the lab. Gemini, who was first photographed in 1976, spent the majority of the summer in the Gulf of Maine, delighting whale watchers daily. This holiday season, you can “adopt” Gemini with a photo and life history, and know that for $30 (or $40 for a whale mother and calf) you are assisting whale conservation.

Thanks to the pioneering research of Allied Whale, founded 41 years ago, scientists know that humpback tails, finback dorsal fins, and body markings can be as distinctive as human fingerprints. Once identified, whales are tracked, and family trees created, giving researchers insight into their abundance, migrations, and life histories. Scientists have observed Gemini, who’s often with others such as Tusk and Notchy, feeding on small schooling fish, while another male, Breakers, encourages a young calf away from a vessel that had sparked the young one’s curiosity—showing that males, as well as females, guard the young.

Included with the adoption packet are a certificate of adoption, a photo and biography of the adopted whale, a booklet filled with whale photos, facts, and maps, a waterproof field guide to whales and whale watching, and an Allied Whale bumper sticker.

Contributions support research that lets scientists follow captivating animals like Gemini or Breakers, who have been known to hang with dolphins as well as baby calves, and love to stretch, roll and slap their tails against the Atlantic waters. The adoption contributions also help to protect the waters that these majestic creatures live in, from Canada to the Antarctic.

To adopt a whale, or for more information on Allied Whale or the Adopt-A-Whale program, visit www.alliedwhale.org, www.coa.edu/alliedwhale, or call (207) 288-5644.

About Allied Whale

Allied Whale has been at the vanguard of whale research and conservation since 1972 when it established a research station at Mount Desert Rock lighthouse station, 25 miles off the coast of Maine, and began the identification catalog for the North Atlantic humpback whale. It now also maintains identification catalogs for the North Atlantic fin whale and the Antarctic humpback. Photo-identification remains the most important and widely-used research technique for whale biologists; Allied Whale has archived tens of thousands of research images of whales. Thanks to this work, researchers have been surprised by extreme migrations, such as the one undertaken by Oceana, traveling past two continents, or an even further journey, from Brazil, around Tierra del Fuego to Ecuador, more recently discovered. Allied Whale also carries on genetic studies of the whales that regularly return to feed off the coast of Maine and Eastern Canada. Its research also helps to discover the impact of pollution, ocean dumping, shipping, destructive fishing, and coastal development on individual whales.

About College of the Atlantic

College of the Atlantic is a small college on the coast of Maine fostering interdisciplinary approaches to complex environmental and social problems. The academic program encourages hands-on, experiential learning and asks students to view the world as an interactive whole through its one major, human ecology. For more visit www.coa.edu.

Public Service Announcement

Sometimes the largest among us are the most vulnerable. To help protect whales and their habitats—and to learn more about what whales need—Allied Whale, College of the Atlantic’s marine mammal research lab, is offering “adoptions” of whales it has been tracking for years. There’s Gemini, creating a bubble cloud capturing fish for his companions to feed on, his buddies Tusk and Notchy, and Breakers, known to protect calves that are not his own. Any number of fin or humpback whales will happily dive through the waters of the Gulf of Maine and into the heart of your loved one through the Adopt-A-Whale program. For $30 for a single whale, $40 for a mother and calf pair, or $20 for a renewal, you or your loved one will receive a certificate of adoption and a photograph of your adoptee, along with a brief biography and a record of its sightings. Also included are a booklet of whale maps, photos, and information, a waterproof field guide to whales and whale watching, and an Allied Whale bumper sticker. As important, you and your loved one will know that you have helped protect whales by contributing to research into their behavior, needs, and life history. For more information, call Allied Whale 207-288-5644 or visit www.coa.edu/alliedwhale.

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