Whales, dolphins and seals are returning to New York City waters in droves, thrilling scientists and creating an unlikely tourist attraction in the Big Apple.
Ferry captain Tom Paladino said the mammals' numbers seem to have "increased tenfold" and said he began offering seal- and whale-watching tours of the harbor this month. "We used to see 10 whales a year -- now we see 100," he told the New York Daily News. "We saw dolphins almost on a daily basis between June and September."
Massive humpback, fin and blue whales have been spotted in New York Harbor, as has the endangered Atlantic right whale. The whales have long traveled along the northeast coastline on their way to summer feeding grounds off the coast of Massachusetts and Maine, but
scientists say some pods are now actually living in New York City waters, just off the coast of Staten Island.
Chris Clark, a Cornell University professor who worked on a study that installed whale-listening devices in waters off New York City, said researchers could hear six species of whales, "a real menagerie of giants," he told the Daily News. "I've been surprised elsewhere in the world, but off New York -- yikes!"
Scientists say cleaner waters have helped the creatures make a comeback, along with a whale-monitoring system used in Massachusetts that alerts boaters to slow down so they don't hit and kill the slower-moving whales.
Read more at the New York Daily News.