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1 September 2011 Reports of Humpback and Minke Whales in the Hudson Bay Region, Eastern Canadian Arctic
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Abstract
We summarize recently reported sightings of Megaptera novaeangliae (Humpback Whales) and Balaenoptera acuturostrata (Minke Whales) in the Hudson Bay region, in the eastern Canadian Arctic. Balaena mysticetus (Bowhead Whale) is the only baleen whale historically known from Hudson Bay, and during the commercial whaling era (1860–1915), no other large whale was reported to occur there. We note recent (ca. last 10 years) Humpback observations reported by local Inuit hunters in Hudson Bay and northern Foxe Basin. One Humpback was also observed by cetacean biologists in Ungava Bay during an aerial survey for Delphinapterus leucas (Beluga Whales). Minke Whales have previously been reported in southern Hudson Bay and James Bay, and recent discussions with Inuit hunters have indicated possible sightings in Foxe Basin and western Hudson Bay. They are commonly observed by Inuit in eastern Hudson Strait, where there have also been recent detections by biologists. Observations of these species in Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin may be related to reduced ice cover and increased open water, changes in prey species distributions, population recovery and growth following commercial whaling, or some combination of factors. More efficient reporting of observations is needed, and improved community-level monitoring would assist with documentation of temperate-region species in high-latitude areas.
Jeff W. Higdon and Steven H. Ferguson "Reports of Humpback and Minke Whales in the Hudson Bay Region, Eastern Canadian Arctic," Northeastern Naturalist 18(3), (1 September 2011). https://doi.org/10.1656/045.018.0309
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