Thursday, December 19, 2013

73 blue whales

After this year's baleen whale season our blue whale catalogue has grown to include 73 different individuals! The Azores is recognised as one of the best places in the world to encounter blue whales, the largest animals in the world. Especially during recent years we have been encountering more blue whales in São Miguel Island, giving us hope that blue whale numbers in the north Atlantic may be on the increase. Despite being the largest animal in the world, we still no very little about blue whales. For example we do not know yet where blue whales from the north Atlantic go during the winter months when they give birth. During our whale watching tours we collect data, including photographs to identify individuals, which will hopefully help us put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. Every year during the spring months blue pass the Azores and often spend a few days here feeding on krill before continuing their migration north. The time of the year to see blue whales here in São Miguel, Azores is from about mid March until early June. During this time we also see other baleen whale species, such as fin whales and sei whales. Maybe you can be one of the lucky people to encounter one of these ocean giants with us during our next baleen whale season of 2014!

Blue whale ID photos. Individuals can be recognised by the pattern of spots on their bodies. 
Notice that each of the above individuals are different.

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