It has been nearly 50 years since blue whales have been spotted on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Their comeback has sparked excitement in marine science researchers.
Whaling, the practice of killing whales for their meat and oil, caused a near extension of the magnanimous mammal. For 67 years, over 42,000 blue whales were killed. This occurred between 1904 and 1971 prior to commercial whaling which was banned in the ’60s. Humpback whales, who are underwater for more than 90% of the time, have also been spotted.
Between 1998 – 2018 only one blue whale was eyeballed in South Georgia. Therefore, it is no wonder why scientists are elated to report 58 blue whales have been sighted, according to a survey taken in February 2020.
Blue whales rank as the largest animal to ever reside on the face of the earth. Its heart is said to weigh as much as an automobile. The average car weighs a little over 4,000 pounds.
This colossal animal’s tongue is heavier than an elephant and they are found in all oceans, except the Arctic.
According to whale ecologist, Dr. Jennifer Jackson, the government of South Georgia has deemed its waters a protected marine area. She is optimistic that this classification will cause more sightings of blue whales.
It is unknown why there was a delay in blue whales making a comeback after 50 years. Susannah Calderan, the primary author of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, believes it was due to a loss of cultural memory that is now being found again.
Researchers have listening devices that will help them keep track of the blue whales who have the loudest call of any animal on the planet.
Written by Sheree Bynum
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