A young humpback whale has been spotted feeding and napping at the mouth of the Boston Harbor in recent days, New England Aquarium officials said Tuesday.
The whale, whose gender is unknown, is likely feeding on schools of forage fish that spend much of the late summer in the harbor. It is good news that the young whale is feeding successfully and has a large amount of available food, the aquarium said.
Whale sightings in the harbor have become more common in recent years due to what officials call a “conservation success story.” Cleaner water quality causes schools of fish called menhaden to venture closer to the shore with whales closely in tow.
But the feeding is occuring in the middle of busy shipping channels, a potential threat to the inexperienced whale, the aquarium said.
Aquarium officials are urging boaters to slow speeds and be careful at the mouth of the harbor. If a whale is seen, boaters should cut their engines until it clears the area.
The young whale spotted in recent days has likely been on its own since the beginning of the year. It is approximately 30 feet long and 20 months old, according to the aquarium.