Couple documents whale observations

Humpback species spending more time in area

Living in a coastal community, residents are able to watch various kinds of wildlife in their natural environment.

Over the past three years, humpback whales have been spending more time in the area, and Jude Abrams and Terry Brown have found themselves watching and learning as much from these animals as possible.

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“They started to show up more about three years ago,” said Brown. “In the last couple of years, especially, they’ve been hanging out longer. Before there would be the occasional sighting, but last year in particular there were more humpbacks around for longer.”

While Abrams and Brown aren’t marine biologists, the couple is enthusiastic about the whales that have caught the attention of the community.

In addition to spending time out on the water observing the humpbacks, Abrams said she and Brown read reports and documents compiled by researchers and follow sightings posted by the Wild Ocean Whales Society (WOWS).

“We are collecting information every way we can,” said Abrams. “We also want to learn who they are associating with because we’ve heard they’ve been hunting with the sea lions, and that’s really interesting to us.”

Abrams and Brown said because the humpback whales haven’t been present in our waters until the last three years, little is known about their habits and behaviours.

“People have been seeing what looks like a cooperative behaviour between the whales and other animals,” said Brown. “A fisherman in Finn Bay in Lund observed a whale there on one side of the bay and sea lions coming across in a line towards the humpback. It seemed like they were maybe herding towards the humpback and they were cooperating in terms of feeding behaviour.”

As Abrams and Brown prepare for another busy season of humpback observation they have identified some goals for their research.

Abrams said she and Brown are going to look at how the relationship between the community and whales might change with the humpbacks spending more time in the area. They also want to learn more about the whale species’ history in our area.

“Very little is known about what kind of relationship there was between first nations communities in our area and the whales,” said Abrams. “We really want to talk to people and hopefully learn about the of history these animals with humans here.”

To help share their experiences and observations, Abrams and Brown said they will be putting together a documentary film.

“We want to produce a film about our experiences of trying to hang out with these whales in the Powell River area,” said Brown. “We have a classic sailboat that we’ve just resurrected and we want to be out with the humpbacks. We want to be able to document that and our experiences of welcoming these whales and their behaviours.”

Abrams and Brown are looking for the community’s help in reporting whale sightings.

“If anyone sees any whales, we want them to let us know,” said Abrams. “We will also be sharing our experiences on our website, Welcoming Whales, and invite the community to observe these beautiful whales with us.”

To follow Abrams and Brown’s adventure, or to report a sighting, go tohtl livemorelighty.com/jude/projects.

For more information on WOWS go to whalesanddolphinsbc.com.

Copyright © Powell River Peak

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