The North Pacific Humpback whale population has increased, and sightings are becoming more common.
Figure 1: A fluke shot of BCY 0324, aka “Big Mama”. The unique shape and pigmentation pattern of a humpback whale’s flukes allow for individuals to be identified.
Photo taken by Paul Pudwell, uploaded to happywhale.org, a citizen science whale tracking website (“Big Mama (aka Mamma, Momma)”, n.d.).
Figure 2: Sighting data reported to the BC Cetacean Sighting Network (Nordstrom and Birdsall, 2018). Note that numbers of sightings are reported here, not numbers of individuals.
Figure 3: A poster created and distributed around the BC Coast to alert boaters to the presence of Humpback Whales. Many boaters are unaware of the increase in numbers, and are not familiar with Humpback swimming and surfacing patterns.