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The status of Right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) off South Africa, 1969-1979

Author: P B Best
Publisher: Cape Town : Republic of South Africa, Dept. of Agriculture and Fisheries, Sea Fisheries Institute, 1981.
Series: Investigational report (Sea Fisheries Institute (South Africa)), 123.
Edition/Format:   Print book : National government publication : English
Summary:
Historically, right whales wintered in South African coastal waters north to Baia dos Tigres, Angola, and to Delagoa Bay, Mocambique, but their numbers were severely depleted in the nineteenth century. Aerial surveys along the southern African coast from 1969 to 1979 have shown that the seasonality of ocurrence of right whales is similar to that in historical times, but that the range of the species has contracted  Read more...
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Material Type: Government publication, National government publication
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: P B Best
ISBN: 0621058793 9780621058796
OCLC Number: 10017963
Notes: Summary in Afrikaans.
Description: 44 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
Series Title: Investigational report (Sea Fisheries Institute (South Africa)), 123.
Responsibility: by P.B. Best.

Abstract:

Historically, right whales wintered in South African coastal waters north to Baia dos Tigres, Angola, and to Delagoa Bay, Mocambique, but their numbers were severely depleted in the nineteenth century. Aerial surveys along the southern African coast from 1969 to 1979 have shown that the seasonality of ocurrence of right whales is similar to that in historical times, but that the range of the species has contracted mainly to the area from Walker Bay to Plettenberg Bay on the Cape south coast. The distribution along this coast is markedly non-uniform, and certain bays are predominantly calving or mating areas. Cows with calves tend to dissociate themselves from and occur closer inshore than other animals. The mean date of birth falls in August, and 4.0 per cent of all calves born are of a light colour phase. Individual whales may remain as long as 4 1/2 months on the coast. Total counts have ranged from 60 to 172 animals, of which 15-28 percent have been calves. From replicate flights it is estimated that 66-85 per cent of alal whales actually present are seen on the surveys. Since 1971, the populations on the South Coast has increased by 7 per cent each year, and its range is expanding up the West Coast. Several reasons are proposed for the earlier apparent failure of the population to respond to at least nominal protection since 1935.

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