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Observation of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) in the Waters Adjacent to the Chukotka Peninsula with Comparisons to Historical Sighting Data

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Document pages: 20 pages

Abstract: This paper presents data from shore-based and limited boat observations of the seasonal distributions of humpback whales in waters adjacent to the Chukotka Peninsula from 1994 and 2012. Under favourable ice conditions, humpback whales were spotted off the coast of the Chukotka Peninsula as early as the end of May. During the summer, humpback whales remained dispersed in the coastal waters of the Chukotka Peninsula alone and in pairs. In the fall, humpback whales formed aggregations in the extreme southern Chukchi Sea, and northern Gulf of Anadyr. The whales moved away from the observation area before freeze-up. The waters of this area have historically been—and still remain—the summer grazing grounds of humpback whales. The increased number of humpback whales sighted here is an indication of the population increasing, signalling a restoration of their numbers in the waters off the Chukotka Peninsula and a recovery of the stock of humpback whales in the North Pacific.

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