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Captive Orca Nakai Dies at SeaWorld San Diego

credit: SeaWorld San Diego An orca has died while in captivity at SeaWorld San Diego....
A fluke of a North Atlantic right whale lifts out of the water

Federal Proposal Aims to Protect Endangered Right Whales From Ship Strikes

For Immediate Release, July 29, 2022 WASHINGTON- The National Marine Fisheries Service proposed a rule...
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100 bottlenose dolphins hunted in Faroe Islands

This morning, (July 29th), 100 bottlenose dolphins were killed in Skálafjörður on the Faroe Islands. The...
North Atlantic right whale. Photo by Regina Asmutis-Sylvia

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Fin whales return to old feeding grounds in Southern Ocean

An exciting discovery by researchers in the waters around Antarctica suggest that fin whales are starting to return to their former feeding grounds.

During the first part of the 20th century, commercial whaling decimated whale numbers in the region as whalers reduced populations to a fraction of their original figure. By the time it become commercially unviable to hunt fin whales in the mid 1970s, over 700,000 had been hunted, leaving just a few thousand remaining.

Now 40 years later, as the population slowly starts to recover, it appears they are returning to places they had all but disappeared from.

Surveys in the area have sighted large number of fin whales gathering around the Antarctic peninsula to feed, including the first scientific documentation of the whales at Elephant Island.

This exciting discovery is not just good news for fin whales. They also play a valuable role in the local ecosystem, helping with the distribution of vital nutrients through a process known as the "The Whale Pump". The fin whales were seen feeding on krill which themselves feed on phytoplankton. Phytoplankton flourishes in an iron-rich environment, a major source of which is whale poo! By allowing whale numbers to increase will hopefully have a major benefit on the wider ocean environment.

Read the full report:
Herr, H., Viquerat, S., Devas, F. et al. Return of large fin whale feeding aggregations to historical whaling grounds in the Southern Ocean. Sci Rep 12, 9458 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-13798-7

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