Whales are Returning to NYC

Whales are Returning to NYC

Once almost extinct, humpback whales have been returning to the waters of New York City. 2010 marked the first sightings of these majestic creatures, but it took years for them to fully rebound to what their numbers once were.
Their disappearance was caused by poor water quality and lack of food. New York fisherman have stated they have never seen whale numbers like these in their lifetimes. With a plethora of zooplankton and algae to feed the menhaden, a favorite food for humpbacks, the whales are migrating to NYC waters to feed before they head south to the warmer Caribbean waters for the winter.
The increase in whale sightings can be attributed to the Hudson River cleanup. Once a river known for its pollution, conservation efforts over the last decade have had a positive effect not only on the river water but the waters the Hudson empties out into. Back in the 70’s and 80’s the Hudson was full of sewage and home to an abundant rat population. The Clean Water Act was passed in 1972 but it took decades to reverse the damage done.
Sometimes it is easy to forget that places like New York City are part of the ecosystem. All the concrete, noise, and sky-high buildings make people forget that they are still in nature. With the whales returning tourists can now see whales cresting the waters of the harbor as they take in the beauty of the statue of Liberty. Pictures of these majestic creatures in NYC have been making their rounds on social media, and tour groups are in full swing.
You can listen to the findings of Takeaway producer Oliver Lazarus, who attended one such tour with Gotham Whales, here: https://www.wnyc.org/story/whales-return-new-york-city/ Gotham whales is a tour group and research crew helping document the whale population. In the last six years they have counted 75 whales.

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