A recent study reported the first documented migrations of the blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) from southern California to the north Pacific Ocean since the end of commercial whaling in 1965.
Researchers identified 15 separate cases where blue whales were seen off British Columbia and the Gulf of Alaska. Four of the whales were identified as animals previously observed off the coast of California, suggesting a return to an historical migration pattern.
This is a really good news but, as the author of the study John Calambokidis said, “It’s not yet possible to determine whether the whales are resuming long-abandoned migratory feeding journeys or shifting their patterns to match cyclical shifts in the Pacific Ocean that affect krill, their dietary mainstay…”
Photo: a blue whale blowing, by Cascadia Research Collective
Calambokidis J., Barlow J., Ford J.K.B., Chandler T.E., Dougals A.B. 2009. Insights into the population structure of blue whales in the eastern North Pacific from recent sightings and photographic identifications. Marine Mammal Science DOI:10.1111/j.1748-7692.2009.00298.
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