Ecologist Dave Andrews was the first to spot the beluga whale swimming in the River Thames. Belugas typically live in the cold Arctic waters off Greenland, Svalbard and the Barents Sea. Lucy Babey (head of science and charity at UK charity ORCA) said, “Considering how far the animal is from its range, it may be distressed and so it is vital that onlookers both on land and at sea keep their distance”. The British Divers Marine Life Rescue tweeted that they were monitoring the situation.
Humpback whales utilize sound in order to communicate, find mates, find food, and navigate through the ocean. Commercial ships emit low frequency tones which disrupts whale communication. New research suggests that humpback whales stop or shorten their songs when ships are approached as well as when ships were leaving an area. It was found that whales swimming beneath ships had no changes in their singing. More research is needed because this study was only conducted on singing males, not females and whale calves.
Using very high resolution (VHR) satellite imagery allows fin and sperm whales to be found, counted, and observed in the Mediterranean sea. Each pixel is the photograph is equivalent to 30 cm on Earth, making it the most precise imagery of whales developed so far. This is a cost-effective way of collecting data on these whales without physically traveling to these hard-to-reach locations. Scientists are hoping to use the collected data in order to create a system to alert ship captains when entering a whale-populated area and thus reduce ship strikes.
Local media in Srednyaya Bay, near the city of Nakhodka has discovered marine mammals (11 orcas and a few dozen belugas) penned inside a “whale jail”. A video was also taken of killer whales being transported from one holding pen to another, possibly preparing them for transportation. Environmentalists and local say that this is part of a multi-million dollar trade capturing and transporting marine animals to ocean theme parks in China.
Beluga Blog is a space for MMRT to share club activities throughout the year and interesting marine mammals news shared by our very own club members!