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Risso's dolphin at surface

My lucky number – 13 years studying amazing Risso’s dolphins

Everything we learn about the Risso's dolphins off the coast of Scotland amazes us and...
Dead sperm whale in The Wash, East Anglia, England. © CSIP-ZSL.

What have dead whales ever done for us?

When dead whales wash up on dry land they provide a vital food source for...
Risso's dolphin © Andy Knight

We’re getting to know Risso’s dolphins in Scotland so we can protect them

Citizen scientists in Scotland are helping us better understand Risso's dolphins by sending us their...
Pilot whales pooing © Christopher Swann

Talking crap and carcasses to protect our planet

We know we need to save the whale to save the world because they are...
Fin whale (balaenoptera physalus) Three fin whales Gulf of California.

Speaking truth to power – my week giving whales a voice

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting is where governments come together to make decisions about whaling...

Why do whales and dolphins strand on beaches?

People often ask me 'why' whales and dolphins do one thing or another.  I'm a...
A spinner dolphin leaping © Andrew Sutton/Eco2

Head in a spin – my incredible spinner dolphin encounter

Sri Lanka is home to at least 30 species of whales and dolphins, from the...
Orca (ID171) breaches off the coast of Scotland © Steve Truluck.

Watching whales and dolphins in the wild can be life changing

Whales and dolphins are too intelligent, too large and too mobile to ever thrive in...

Right Whale Obituary Series: Stumpy

In the last month, Cape Cod observed an unprecedented occurrence: a female North Atlantic right whale named Wart and her newborn calf swimming in the chilly waters of the bay. Mothers typically give birth off the Southeastern coast of the US, where warmer waters make the first few months of life easier on a newborn whale. So far, Wart and calf seem to be healthy and doing fine. While we are glad to see one of the new calves this season and wishing them well, as part of our obituary series we also wanted to reflect on a mother who was not so fortunate on this day in 2004.

Stumpy,the North Atlantic Right Whale

1981-2004

Stumpy, 29, a pregnant North Atlantic right whale was killed off the North Carolina coast on February 7th, 2004 when she was hit by a large passing vessel. Stumpy was pregnant with a son who was only weeks from being born. Her surviving family is unknown. She was officially named Stumpy in 1981 by the New England Aq uarium because her right fluke is missing a chunk (she’s also referred to by her catalog number 1004). The trauma to her fluke was also believed to be the result of a prior vessel strike she had bravely and successfully survived earlier in her life.

Stumpy enjoyed spending her winters in Georgia and occasionally in Florida where she and other right whales would pair up and socialize. She enjoyed traveling and spent time in the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia, Canada which was her favorite place. In fact she was sighted there over forty times!

Stumpy is survived by four children and several grandchildren. Her first calf, Phoenix (1705), was born in 1987 and survived a fishing gear entanglement when she was ten years old. Phoenix also gave birth to her first calf in 1996 who was later named Smoke (2605).

“In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting your support of the continuation of the NA Right Whale Ship Strike Speed rule to prevent these tragic incidents from continuing.Please help and prevent ship strikes like the one which took the life of the courageous Stumpy and her son, who never had the chance to know, or travel with his mom.

About George Berry

George is a member of WDC's Communications team and website coordinator.