The humpback whale (Megaptera novaengliae) is an endangered species of baleen whale that feeds in the waters of the Gulf of Maine during the spring, summer and fall. The worldwide population of humpback whales ranges from 60,000 to 80,000 individuals and the population within the Gulf of Maine is estimated between 9,000 to 11,000. Humpback whales are a large baleen whale that reaches an average length of 40 to 50 feet and a weight of 35 to 40 tons. Although protected worldwide since the International Whaling Commission in 1964, this population has increased slowly and is still considered a fraction of the pre-whaling population estimates. There are numerous factors that are responsible for this slow recovery and many related to life history parameters for this species. Humpbacks reach sexual maturity at age 4 or 5. Reproductively mature females produce a single calf every 2 or 3 years and invest a large amount of time and energy with their calves offshore. And the gestation period for this species is close to a year.
Life History Parameters of the Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaengliae) in the Waters of the Gulf of Maine for the 2007 Feeding Season.
Undergraduate Review, 5, 14-17.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol5/iss1/6
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