After an absence of more than three decades, a sperm whale has been heard and seen in Johnstone Strait, a passage of water separating northern Vancouver Island from mainland Canada. This area is renowned as being home to the famous Northern resident population of orcas and while other species are also recorded, the reappearance of a sperm whale this week took researchers by surprise.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is the world’s main authority on the conservation status of species. Its ‘Red List of Threatened Species’ – known as ‘The Red List’ - is the most comprehensive inventory we have of species at risk.
Why protect whales and dolphins?
Unfortunately, 2017 is not turning out to be a great year for whales, dolphins and porpoises with the numbers of some species dropping to worrying levels.
Scientist studying blue whale feeding habits have documented a switch from ‘right-hand’ to left when these huge creatures feed.
Blue whales are similar to many other creatures when it comes to ‘handeness’ or laterality. They tend to always favour the right. However, results from a six year study of their behaviour off the coast of southern California have revealed that the whales will swap sides when feeding.
For the first time bowhead whales have been filmed rubbing themselves on rocks to remove dead skin in Cumberland Sound in Nunavut, northern Canada.
While local inuits and whalers had previously documented seeing whales taking part in this activity it had never been clear why. Now, with the help of drones, researchers have been able to see that large pieces of dead skin are removed during the process with the findings published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.
Some species of whales and dolphins can migrate many thousands of miles, travelling through the national waters of a number of different countries to get to their destinations.