Worth and Sydney.
The study was coordinated by the International Whaling Commission, with funding provided by Exxon Neftegas Limited, the Sakhalin Energy Investment Company, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute.
A western North Pacific gray whale “Varvara” tagged with satellite tracking devices was observed making an almost 14,000 mile (22,500 km) round trip from Russia to Mexico and back, breaking all records for longest recorded migration by a mammal.
The feat was recorded in a study published today in the journal “Biology Letters” by Oregon State University biologist Bruce Mate, chair of the school’s Marine Mammal Institute. Of these whales, three migrated to the other side of the Pacific, to regions occupied by non-endangered eastern gray whales.
The previous longest journey made by a mammal was held by a humpback whale, who swam more than 11,706 miles (18,839km) in 2011. On that trip, Varvara cruised at an average of 6.5 knots, barely stopping to even snack during an arduous journey. “Calfs inherit their mothers foraging area, so she would have closely followed her mother from the breeding area where she was born to the feeding area”. They say to bring lots of patience and maybe binoculars, while sticking to calmer days will yield more chances of seeing them. “They’re simply amazing animals”.
He proposed that the “endangered” modern population of gray whales is actually a pioneering group of eastern whales looking to reclaim a former (and much more extensive) migration range that extends to Russian waters.
“Needless to say, we’re impressed, ” Mate told The Washington Post.
The grimmer possibility is that all 100 or so gray whales that currently feed near Russia are actually eastern whales, and that the western population has vanished altogether.
A family of Gray Whales swim in the waters off the coast of Los Cabos, Mexico City, Mexico.
But the new report shows that a female western gray whale (Eschrichtius robustus) named Varvara (the Russian equivalent of the name Barbara), has stolen the record. Their eastern counterparts, on the other hand, used to be endangered, but conservation efforts led by the United States caused the animals to become delisted in 1996.
Crossing the ocean is no small feat, even for a blue whale.
A western gray whale is pictured off Sakhalin Island, Russia.In the 1970s, scientists thought the western gray whale had gone extinct. Whale tails contain identifying markers.
Before Varvara’s recording setting travel, the researchers thought this population of grey whales swam in a loop to get from the Arctic to their final destination in the South China Sea.
Along with Varvara, two others also crossed into regions inhabited by non-endangered eastern grey whales.
A 14,000 migration has been completed by a Pacific gray whale. What does this tell us about the species