Are Narwhals Extinct?


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Jewelly A. Shetka Profile
Narwhals are often found in groups of 20-30.
Sometimes groups are highly integrated with
respect to age and sex, while at other times
there is distinct separation of large adult males
from groups with females with their calves
and juveniles. In areas where Narwhals migrate,
groups numbering over 2,000 have occasionally
been seen traveling together. The fall migration
usually leads the Narwhals off shore, where they
are not exposed to the risk of being trapped in
near shore ice.
Narwhals were know as 'Corpse Whale' because
they'd sometimes float a while in the water, belly up.
Most early whalers didn't go after the Narwhal because
the whales' grayish, sometimes splotchy, coloration
reminded them of a person that's been drowned.
It was considered very bad luck by most to kill a 'Corpse Whale'.
It is suspected by some people today that the few tusks
that did come to light 'way back when' were the source
of the legend...when poured into a 'unicorn horn',
wine that is poisoned would turn a different color,
usually black or purple.

I've seen and even held one.  It had become brittle from years
in the NM air and had fallen over, breaking into several pieces.
The owner knew of my sister's skill in repairing various items,
and had brought it to her to fix.  The tusk was heavy, looking
like some kind of pink, cream swirled marble.   It felt heavy and
smooth-feeling, even though the surface was crackled from lack
of moisture and it was twisted, just like the unicorn horn is said to be.
My sister repaired the breaks and stabilized the rest.  The lady was
very happy to get it back and promised to take better care of it the future.
Namely, don't prop it in a corner like a cane anymore.

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