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It’s Time To Breach The Snake River Dams

The Snake River dams were controversial even before they were built.  While they were still...
Save the whale. Save the world.

Climate giants – how whales can help save the world

We know that whales, dolphins, and porpoises are amazing beings with complex social and family...
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Five Facts About Orcas

Orcas, also known as killer whales, are one of the most recognizable and popular species...
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Meet the 2022 Interns: Alexi Archer

I am thrilled to welcome Alexi to WDC as the newest member of our Marine...
Saya

Meet the 2022 Interns: Saya Butani

I'm happy to welcome the newest member of the WDC team, Saya Butani, who is...
Block Island wind credit: Regina Asutis-Silvia

Offshore Wind: Don’t Blow It

Recently, new areas were added to the growing list of potential sites for offshore wind...
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Meet the 2022 Interns: Sierra Osborne

I'm delighted to introduce WDC's Conservation Education intern for Summer 2022, Sierra Osborne! Without hesitation,...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...

I’ll tell you whale i’ve been … Part 1!

Following on from the exciting discovery made by IWDG and others of a travelling humpback whale in the north east Atlantic, thanks to photo-id (where individual whales can be recognised over time due to distinctive and unique markings on the underside of their flukes) researchers are slowly pulling together the different pieces of the jigsaw and are getting closer to unravelling the mystery of the migratory pathways of humpback whales in the north-east Atlantic.

In truth however, the advancement in understanding where these whales are coming from and going to is moving along in leaps and bounds. Just the other day for example, a match was made between a humpback whale seen off the coast of Ireland with a humpback whale seen off the coast of Iceland only weeks earlier. Every sighting is taking researchers a step closer and all thanks to photo-id and the different researchers determination to find out more!

In addition to sightings in higher latitudes, researchers at IWDG have spent the last few years undertaking humpback whale research in the Cape Verde Islands, off the west coast of Africa, with the belief that these islands represent a breeding ground for northeastern Atlantic humpback whales. And their hard work appears to be paying off as not only was one Cape Verdean humpback resighted in the Azores, possibly en route to the northern feeding grounds but three other individuals from the Cape Verde Islands have also been photographed on feeding grounds off Bear Island, Norway and Iceland. 

As with other humpback whale populations, it is thought that there is a strong loyalty to these summer feeding areas and that this faithfulness is driven by the females (specifically the mothers) and maintained over generations. As you might imagine, this knowledge of where to find food is hugely important for the whales and given that is is passed down from generation to generation every individual whale plays an important part in ensuring the long-term viability of humpback whales in the north-east Atlantic. To lose even one individual (and especially a mother) – whether due to Icelandic whaling or entanglement in fishing gear – could be catastrophic for the population as a whole.

Thanks to a variety of researchers throughout the region work is on-going trying to understand the north-east Atlantic humpback whale conundrum and as soon as there is more news to share we’ll be sure to bring it to you however if you fancy finding out more about these wandering whales then the researchers recent publication makes for interesting reading.

In the meantime you can help support our work by adopting a humpback whale.