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The Right Whale

Right Whales were regarded by Nineteenth century whalers as the 'right' whales for their industry. All Right whales are protected internationally under the convention for the regulation of whaling and have not been actively hunted since 1935.

Right Whales are slow, skimmer-feeders. Their baleen plates, up to 2 metres long, filter out plankton and krill (small shrimp-like crustaceans) as they cruise along the surface. They seldom reach a speed of 9km/hr. and take over a month to swim the 5000 km or so distance from the sub-Antarctic waters.

The Right whale is a slow, lumbering swimmer, but is often acrobatic. It often breaches, sometimes up to 10 times or more in a row. The splash can be heard from up to 1km (3/4 mile) away. It may also wave a flipper above the surface, flipper-slap, lobtail and head-stand. Sometimes raised flukes in the air are used as sails, allowing the wind to push it through the water. This appears to be a playful activity as animals have often been seen swimming back to do it again.
The Right whale is an inquisitive and playful whale and has been observed poking, bumping or pushing objects around that are in the water. During breeding season and mostly at night the Right whale often bellows and moans loudly.