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Pepper  HWC# 0074

Pepper

Pepper is an old-timer around these parts.  She is listed in the original Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog back in 1976.  She is quite often seen around the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary throughout the season.  She has at least seven known calves, however, no known grandcalves (See Pepper's Family Tree).

In 1996 Pepper gave birth to a calf later named Zenith.  Zenith was a lot like all the other calves, playful and curious.  Most calves will stay with their mothers for only one year, however Zenith was with his mother again in 1997, the year Pepper was pregnant with Bishop.  It is unknown if Zenith actually made the long journey down south to the Caribbean with his mother or just met up with her again as she was in the midst of her migration back to the feeding grounds.  It is highly unusual to see mother and calf together for this length of time, but not unheard of.  Finally in the fall of 1997 the two made their final split.

Zenith was seen a few times in 1998.  He appeared healthy and well. Unfortunately, toward the end of the summer he was accidentally struck by a vessel.  There were reports of him in the area a month later feeding and it appeared that he was recovering.  Zenith has not been seen since that year.  This does not necessarily mean that he did not survive.  Many times when a whale has had a traumatic experience, it will avoid the area for quite some time.  Seeing him actively feeding a month after the accident was a great sign.

Pepper received her name simply because back in 1976 she had a very long association with a whale named Salt (another female old-timer).  

Pepper has a fairly distinguishable fluke.  It may take a little practice but she is fairly easy to memorize.  The shape of the black marking within the fluke is the most striking feature, especially on the left side

.

Pepper's Family Tree

Pepper- F ----
fs: 1976

Aurora- F
yob: 1982

Siete
yob: 1986

Tadpole
yob: 1989

Paprika
yob: 1992

Zenith- M
yob: 1996

Bishop
yob: 1998

Habenero
yob: 2000

 

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