Sighting a whale in New York would seem a utopian dream a few years ago. Lockdown and the slowing of economic activities due to COVID-19 have led to lesser effluents discharged in the rivers.
The Hudson River, which flows through the western stretch of Manhattan, is much cleaner. The river now carries more nutrients to the sea. It is a boon for plankton, which constitutes the primary food source for these marine mammals. The city is now welcoming these humpback whales back.
The CBS New York reports that there has been an increase in whale sighting this year. For the residents of New York, it was a wondrous sight. Pigeons and a few squirrels are the only wildlife they usually see.
Gentle Giants Are Back
Paul Sieswerda, the president of the group Gotham Whale, revealed to CBS that the Hudson is cleaner and brings nutrients instead of poisonous chemicals from industries’ effluents. Also, the Clean Water Act and the Mammal Protection Act contributed to making the Hudson River cleaner. Over the years, the river’s plankton levels increased, and the food chain has been built up.
In 2011 only three whales were spotted by naturalists. Last year, the number was 300. Nature can repair the damage due to the overexploitation of resources. The lockdown and the resultant slowing of economic activities have given nature a chance to clean the rivers and oceans. Humpback whales are now enjoying some New York fine dining.
Sieswerda added New York is famous as being an excellent place to find good food. The whales have seen menhaden, which the local fishermen call ‘bunker’.
However, it is not smooth sailing every time. It is one of the busiest seaports on the Atlantic Ocean. Big vessels come into the harbor where these gentle giants are feeding. Ships are the most significant danger for these whales.
Humpback Whale recovery is dependent on our ability to coexist, so whales get the same chance to service. It will be an unpardonable act if we lose the opportunity and go back to old ways when the pandemic is over.