A Favorite Whale Returns to Cape Cod Bay

Feb 10, 2014

The whale known as "Wart" is back in Cape Cod Bay.
Credit Center for Coastal Studies

A whale that rescuers previously freed from a rope entanglement is back in Cape Cod Bay.

The female North American right whale in her 40s has been nicknamed “Wart” because of a scar on her head. 

Her life was in danger when rescuers at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown disentangled her in 2010. 

She rewarded them by coming back three years later to give birth to a calf, a rare occurrence in these cold waters. That was January last year.  On Saturday, she was back again for her yearly visit and was spotted in a regular aerial survey done by the center.

Dr. Charles "Stormy" Mayo is a senior scientist at the center and the director of the right whale research program there. He says over the last four years, Cape Cod Bay has become vital to the existence of the endangered right whale.

“This little tiny blip on the coast of North America is one of the most, if not the most important habitats along the East Coast at least at present,” he said.

Shifts in the food supply could mean that the whales go elsewhere in the future to keep themselves fed. Tracking what is happening to the whales has gotten a lot harder ever since federal cuts have reduced the budget for research trips. 

Mayo says he would like to know whether Wart is getting enough to eat, but there just isn't enough money to get out onto the ocean to observe her.