Photo: Rachael Barber

21 Jun Happywhale and Whales of Special Interest

WCA Partner Happywhale engages with citizen scientists to identify marine mammals from the photos they take. Citizen scientists, in other words members of the general public, submit their photos take when out whale watching around the world to Happywhale who use state of the art image processing algorithms to match whale photos with scientific databases. Happywhale then tracks these whales as they move around the world’s oceans. Not only to members of the public learn more about individual whales but they help build our understanding of whale movements.

This year Happywhale has been working with a BBC/PBS film crew on an upcoming documentary about whales, whale science and human interactions. Their aim is to not only increase public participation in whale science in general but to also find additional sightings of a group of seven humpback whales. These individuals were involved with a very close encounter with a group of kayakers in Monterey Bay, California in 2015. In this case one whale was seen breaching and landing on top of one of the kayakers. While the people involved were unharmed, it raises interesting questions about human interactions which the documentary aims to explore.

And so, working with the film crew on this documentary Happywhale not only aims to have its biggest summer yet of photo submissions, it also aims to help identify where these ‘Whales of Special Interest’ are now.

You can submit your photos of whales to Happywhale at www.happywhale.com and if you spot these particular whales you can also send a video message explaining which whales you have seen to the BBC film crew at whalesofinterest@gmail.com.

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