New Discovery: Blue Whale Population in the Western Indian ocean

Nature

A new population of blue whales was discovered by an international team of researchers in the western Indian Ocean.

In a paper published in the Endangered Species Research journal, the researchers report that the newly reported blue whale song were recorded from Arabian Sea coast of Oman, crossing the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean and the Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

New Blue Whale Song

New Discovery:  Blue Whale population in the Western Indian ocean

(Photo : Wikimedia Commons )
Image of a Blue Whale’s tail fluke with the Santa Barbara Channel Islands in the background. August 2007.

Blue whales are called the gentle giant of the sea. That have a prominent long, streamlines shape, mottled blue or grey back and a white or pale underbelly. It has that distinct huge heads that are broad, long and with unique U-shaped arch. Blue whales are known for their gigantic size and glide effortlessly through the ocean, making everything else in their path look small.

Blue whaled have a distinct low-pitched and recognizable songs making it easy for researchers to identify them as every population has its own unique song.

But recently, researchers heard a distinctly different song in the West Indian Ocean.

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The recordings and its analyses of the whale from three locations of Indian Oceans were made done by the international research team led by Dr. Salvatore Cerchio, Director of the African Aquatic Conservation Fund’s Cetacean Program.

In 2017, Dr. Cercio while doing a research on Omura’s whale in Mozambique Channel off Madagascar, he recognized an unusual blue whale song that has never been described.

The team also noted that the blue whale song was heard more prevalently off Oman than Madagascar. Eventually, it became apparent to the researchers that the novel recordings were from a previously unrecognized population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean.

Cercio described finding a whale song in your data that was unique and never reported before but recognizing it as blue whale was quite a remarkable experience.

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Blue whale songs have been studied extensively around the globe, and several blue whale populations have been identified based on their songs in the Indian Ocean.

Cercio presented  their findings to the Scientific Committee of the International Whaling Commission (IWC). The committee was also evaluating the status of the blue whale populations in the Indian Ocean.

Emmanuelle Leroy and Tracey Rogers of the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia were also studying blue whale songs in the Indian Ocean and upon reading the IWC report on the new song, Leroy contacted Cercio and said that they also have recorded the same song off the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean. Leroy, Rogers and Cercio collaborated in studying the new population since then.

New discovered population in Western Indian Ocean

Scientists used to believe that the blue whales in the Northern Indian Ocean is a unique population, but it was assumed that it shares the same population of blue whales in Sri Lanka.

Further analysis on the whale’s song recordings reveal that   the newly discovered blue whale population are  located in Western Indian Ocean, in the Arabian Sea and to the west of the Chagos.

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Check out more news and information on Endangered Species on Nature World News.  

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