Wildlife for those living in New York City is usually restricted to squirrels, a few odd raccoons, and rats. However, lovers of wildlife are excited at the booming number of whales that are appearing in the waters around the city. It is a new experience for them because in 2011, there were hardly any but last year there were 272 of them. Gotham Whale, a group that maintains a watch on such happenings, confirms this.

The Guardian reports that a tour operator that has restarted its annual summer voyages monitors the count. It takes spotters and tourists to watch the frolics of the huge aquatic mammals. One of the members who was earlier associated with the New York Aquarium for a long time says, “The numbers keep increasing and increasing very dramatically.” It seems, humpbacks had nearly gone extinct, but are making a comeback thanks to conservation efforts.

How the miracle happened

Paul Sieswerda is the founder of Gotham Whale. He explains that the revival of the increased sightings is the result of a number of positive actions taken by the authorities. One of these is the Clean Water Act legislation. Another is the Endangered Species Act.

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This has checked the level of pollution in the Hudson River and given a new lease of life to the humpbacks. The cleaner water brings along with it nutrients that feed a species of fish that are prey species for these whales. In the words of Sieswerda: “The whales are coming to eat the world famous cuisine in New York.”

The Guardian goes on to add that the apparent recovery of humpbacks near New York City has experts worried about other species in the western Atlantic.

The North Atlantic right whale faces threats of extinction because of entanglement with fishing nets apart from issues related to the Environment. Agencies that monitor whale population in New York have positioned acoustic buoys to keep track of whales even when there are no boats in the vicinity. By using these methods, they expect to detect other types of whales that visit, apart from the humpbacks.

Tidbits about humpback whales

According to Newsweek, the increase in the population of Humpback Whales in the waters off New York City is good news for those who arrange whale spotting. The spike is the net result of a number of successful environmental policies coupled with a decrease in pollution in the Hudson River. This species of whales can reach lengths of up to 60 feet. The spectacle of these whales jumping out of the water and breaching is a spectacle that is unique to the animal kingdom.

Whale spotters identify them by the special markings on the underside of their fluke, or tail. Gotham is a non-profit organization that keeps a record of the whales near New York City. Its catalog has currently identified 110 individuals by name.

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