Love of Whales
~ by Carlos León
How does a male humpback whale (also called a “bull”) ensure the survival of his species, if the females copulate with several other males, and go out and about through great distances in the ocean?
Between July and October, the warm waters of the Costa Rican South Pacific welcome some very special visitors: humpback whales.
Hundreds of them migrate from Antarctica on a huge 18,000-kilometer (over 11,000 miles) journey and look for a safe place to mate or give birth to their calves. The reasons for this migration are unknown, and there are still more questions than answers.
After a twelve-month gestation period, the females (also called “cows”) arrive on our coast to give birth. A 13- feet, 2,200-pound baby! Afterwards, the calves learn to breathe on the surface with their mothers’ help. Then come about 12 months of nursing, and the calf is now able to feed itself on krill (tiny crustaceans) and small fish.
Witnessing the interaction between a mother and her newborn is a very moving experience.
Regarding whale love, as it is usual on Earth, female whales are in charge of selecting their male for copulation; the reproductive success for the bulls will depend on their techniques to impress the females in order to mate.
Therefore, male humpback whales –as almost every male in the world– will not miss a chance to show off; they will breach and lift their 30-ton bodies, and then splash back into the water boasting their huge pectoral fins.
While they are underwater, bulls also seduce the females by serenading them with a series of erotic chants.
To sum up, in whale love, male humpback whales use their physical attributes, singing skills, and even combat knowledge to attract the cows; and in doing so, improve their reproduction odds, and the survival of their species.