A group of southern fin whales filmed in Antarctic feeding grounds is sparking hope for the recovery of the species.
Southern fin whales are the world’s second-largest animal in the world and have been slowly improving since the 1970s’ whaling ban. However, sightings in their Antarctic feeding grounds are still a rare occurrence.
Scientists hailed the “thrilling” spectacle of up to 150 whales feeding together in Antarctica as a sign of hope for the recovery of the species.
Whales were slaughtered to near-extinction during the 20th century due to industrial whaling.
“They were reduced to 1% or 2% of their original population size,” said Helena Herr, from the University of Hamburg, lead author of the research, published in the journal Scientific Reports. “We’re talking about a couple of thousand animals left for the whole southern hemisphere area.”
While conservationists have recorded a slow recovery of the populations since the 1976 whaling ban, very few sightings have been made of those animals in large groups at their historic feeding grounds.
Herr described the scenes filmed in Antarctica to the Guardian as “one of nature’s greatest events” as researchers and filmmakers were able to capture footage of up to 150 southern fin whales.
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