Humpback whales are New York's latest tourist attraction

Whales 'increasing' in New York city's waters


Humpback whales are New York's latest tourist attraction

New York City has seen a big increase in the number of humpback whales visiting its shores.

Whale-watchers have spotted the species in the Atlantic within a mile of the Rockaway peninsula, part of New York's borough of Queens.

This year there have been 106 humpback sightings, with at least 19 different kinds.

That is up from 15 sightings in 2012 and 33 in 2013.

Paul Sieswerda, founder of Gotham Whale, which documents the marine mammal population around New York, said the whale sightings began picking up in 2010.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "It was pretty slim pickings at first, actually. We went on many cruises and had three sightings totalling five whales in 2011."

According to the NY Post, Howard Rosenbaum, director of the Ocean Giants programme at the Wildlife Conservation Society, said: "It is truly remarkable, within miles of the Empire State Building, to have one of the largest and most charismatic species ever to be on this planet."

So why are they coming closer to NY? Rosenbaum said: "One would like to think that some of this has been triggered by an improved environmental ethic.

"We have the clean air and clean water acts, the Marine Mammal Protection Act and associated state laws. It's hard to make the link for sure but there's certainly been a behavioural change toward the natural environment."

And tourists will certainly enjoy the new inhabitants.

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