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Natural World

Whales have been gathering in their hundreds

March 12, 2017 | Comment icon 16 comments



Why are humpbacks gathering together in large groups ? Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 Whit Welles
In a peculiar change to their normal behavior, humpback whales have been seen congregating en masse.
This particular species is not typically social, preferring instead to traverse the ocean alone, in pairs, or on rare occasions in small groups which tend to disband quickly.

Over the last few years however, scientists have been observing increasingly large groups of up to 200 individuals situated hundreds of miles north of their traditional Antarctic feeding grounds.

"It's quite unusual to see them in such large groups," said whale researcher Gisli Vikingsson.
Exactly why the whales are gathering together like this remains a mystery, however it is possible that they are changing their behavior in response to changes in the availability of their food supply.

Similar congregations were actually reported in the same region over 100 years ago, but since then the overall population of humpbacks has been reduced by up to 90% due to whaling.

"It's possible that the behavior was occurring but just not where it was visible," said lead study author Ken Findlay. "Because there were so few of them, we may not have seen it."

Source: New Scientist | Comments (16)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Parsec 5 years ago
Are they gathering in order to finally plan how to take the world over?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Vox 5 years ago
Every 100 years or so, they congregate to elect a new Jarl of the Oceans.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Myles 5 years ago
Time for them to make their move.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Sundew 5 years ago
I thought as whales go, Humpbacks were fairly common, and I thought they were not a big target of whalers in days past. It is curious they are aggregating in large numbers. I saw them in Hawai`i in the Moloka`i Channel when I was a teenager, it was really cool to see them breaching offshore of Maui.
Comment icon #11 Posted by b0wn 5 years ago
Could this possibly have something to do with fukushima?
Comment icon #12 Posted by MJNYC 5 years ago
I know this is not the case, but in my perfect world they are gathering to attack anyone that attacks them.
Comment icon #13 Posted by blueandi 5 years ago
So long, and thanks for all the fish?...
Comment icon #14 Posted by woopypooky 5 years ago
lets hope the whaling ships arent nearby
Comment icon #15 Posted by Cryptid_Control 5 years ago
So long, and thanks for all the fish... edit:someone beat me to the punch lol
Comment icon #16 Posted by insanityitrust 5 years ago
Pre-Migration gathering makes logical sense.. Are they gathering at a primo food source area? Maybe an inter-pod gathering to then split up and form some newer smaller pods...


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