Two whales spotted in Texas ship channel

Jan 17, 2006

An endangered Northern Right whale and her calf were sighted in Corpus Christi Bay, heading up the bay's shipping channel.

"It's an absolute mystery how they got here," Tony Amos, a research fellow at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute in Port Aransas, told the Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller-Times.

Amos said the the mother was about 45 feet long and about 60 tons. The calf, about 15 to 20 feet long, had two cuts on its back and appeared to be suckling.

Amos said Monday he notified the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has a group that deals with endangered whales.

Northern Right whales seek warmer waters in winter off the coasts of Georgia and Florida. They were designated an endangered species in 1973.

The whales got their name because they were a popular target of whalers and floated when they were dead, making retrieval easier, and therefore making them the "right" whales to go after, according to information from NOAA.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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