Southern right whale recovery


This video from Argentina is called Approached by Southern Right Whales in Patagonia.

By Rebecca McLeod in New Zealand:

Southern right whale population on the rebound

Oct 14

South­ern right whales, hunted per­ilously close to extinc­tion last cen­tury, appear to be mak­ing a remark­able recov­ery in New Zealand accord­ing to recent research. For the past four years a group of sci­en­tists from Auck­land and Otago Uni­ver­si­ties, the Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion and the Aus­tralian Antarc­tic Divi­sion have been sail­ing south to the Auck­land Islands to count and iden­tify indi­vid­ual whales that go there to breed and calve. Recent DNA matches of whales recorded in both the Auck­land Islands and main­land New Zealand have shown that the ani­mals migrate between these two areas and likely form one inter­min­gling pop­u­la­tion. Cer­tain indi­vid­u­als have also been seen at the Auck­land Islands, Camp­bell Island, main­land New Zealand and South Aus­tralia – these ani­mals cer­tainly get around!

Results of genetic analy­ses by Pro­fes­sor Scott Baker and his team at Auck­land and Ore­gon State Uni­ver­si­ties indi­cate that the New Zealand pop­u­la­tion of south­ern rights was reduced to as few as 50 repro­duc­tive females fol­low­ing years of hunt­ing in the 1800s and early 1900s, and fur­ther ille­gal whal­ing of the species by the Soviet Union in the 1950s and 60s. Since the 1960s the pop­u­la­tion appears to have been steadily increas­ing. Ten years ago the pop­u­la­tion was esti­mated to include about 900 whales, and the pre­lim­i­nary find­ings of the lat­est sur­veys, indi­cate that num­bers have likely dou­bled since then. Accord­ing to Dr Simon Childer­house, the leader of the most recent expe­di­tions, the rate of recov­ery of New Zealand south­ern right whales appears to be at least as high as that seen for pop­u­la­tions in Aus­tralia and South Africa. In con­trast, pop­u­la­tions of north­ern right whales are incred­i­bly depleted, and do not appear to be recov­er­ing. Despite right whales being pro­tected in the north­ern hemi­sphere, mor­tal­ity from ship strike and entan­gle­ment in fish­ing gear appears to be out­weigh­ing nat­ural pop­u­la­tion increase. In this sense, south­ern right whales are for­tu­nate – their nat­ural home range around the South­ern Ocean and coastal and off­shore New Zealand, has rel­a­tively low vol­umes of ship­ping traffic.

May 2013. The southern right whales that use the Golfo Nuevo and Golfo San José, protected by the Valdés Península in Argentina, as a nursery ground have suffered the largest mortality event ever recorded for the species. At least 605 right whales have died along the Argentine coast since 2003, including 538 new-born calves. One hundred and thirteen calves died in 2012 alone. The Southern Right Whale Health Monitoring Program is working with scientists worldwide to determine why the whales are dying, but as yet, a common cause remains to be found: here.

Stunning close-up photographs capture southern right whales: here.

Smallest whale population identified: Only 30 eastern North Pacific right whales are left: here.

Dangerous dining: surface foraging of North Atlantic right whales increases risk of vessel collisions: here.

Whale-sized Genetic Study Largest Ever For Southern Hemisphere Humpbacks: here.

One Humpback whale caught every 10 days in Queensland beach nets: here.

Humpback beached on Ameland: here.

Sperm Whale Swallows 450 Pounds of Marine Debris: here.

Moby Dick comes to life: The astonishing rare images of a sperm whale feasting on a giant squid: here.

8 thoughts on “Southern right whale recovery

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