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New Evidence Suggests Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales may be Migrating Further than Originally Expected

Home » News » New Evidence Suggests Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whales may be Migrating Further than Originally Expected

WCA Partner Happywhale and fellow researchers have produced a new research paper, published concerning the northern migration of humpback whales from Antarctica to central Southern America. The migration paths of these Southern Hemisphere Humpback whales is well known and documented: they feed in Antarctica throughout the winter months before migrating north to breed during summer. However, De Weerdt et al have been the first to publish sightings of the mammals as far north as Nicaragua. 

Using citizen science and reliable sightings from local businesses such as dive centres, whale watching tours and fishermen, photographic evidence was able to be captured of whale which has since been observed in the Gerlache Strait in Antarctica. This evidence confirms that the sightings in Nicaragua are the northern-most known location for the humpbacks to migrate to. Although more data is needed to confirm whether this is a permanent breeding spot for the whales, the research paper consolidates just how valuable citizen science is in the aid of tracking the long range migration routes of these mammals. 

Thanks to Happywhale’s brilliant automated recognition software this new discovery was possible!

Access the full paper HERE.

Figure from De Weerdt et al., 2019

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