NEW YORK (1010 WINS/WCBS 880) – The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Ocean Giants Team had an intimate encounter with a humpback whale that approached their boat and swam around it for several minutes earlier this month, generating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the scientists.
The Ocean Giants Team was observing a pair of humpback whales about 60 miles off the New York coast as part of its research on the distribution, behavior and habitat-use of humpbacks and other whales in the New York Bight when one decided to engage with the boat in an exceptional way, according to the WCS.
“I have conducted research on whales all over the world for more than 30 years, and these types of experiences don’t happen all that frequently,” Dr. Howard Rosenbaum, Director of the WCS Ocean Giants Program, said.
“The whole team was able to have such a unique experience that will inspire our efforts for years to come,” Rosenbaum added.
The WCS Ocean Giants team conducts boat-based research trips in the NY Bight regularly between May and November in the pursuit of scientific information necessary to inform practices intended to protect large whale species and other cetaceans in this area of the Atlantic, according to the WCS.
Regulatory bodies use research to create rules intended to protect these gentle giants, like a revised rule from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that the WCS is currently supporting that would reduce vessel speeds in areas critically endangered North Atlantic whales may be, the WCS said.
“A truly awe-inspiring experience, one that we will always remember,” Howard said. “To have this encounter with one of the largest animals on the planet right here off New York is amazing and highlights why continuing to protect these leviathans and their important habitats is so important.”