Just over a month ago we sighted our first blue whale of the season migrating through Geographe Bay on its long journey south towards Antarctic waters.
The whale was successfully captured on a drone camera by SouWEST’s citizen scientist Blair Ranford. Subsequent sightings of blue whales have been photographed by whale researcher Chris Burton – something Chris (WWR) has done over the past 25 years to identify individuals based on their unique mottling pigmentations and dorsal fin shapes
This year, SouWEST’s researchers, Chandra Salgado Kent (@oceansblueprint) and Angela Recalde-Salas with support from Timor Leste’s visiting blue whale citizen scientist Ricardo Ximenes Marques, finished comparing Geographe Bay’s blue whale photos with other researchers’ from around Australia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka. Several Geographe Bay blues photographed between 2000 and 2009 were resighted in other locations in Australian waters but not elsewhere, providing support for a distinct population within Australia.
This finding made a debut at this year’s International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee Meeting in Niarobi, Kenya. With more than 100 blue whales now sighted, we are well and truly in the blue whale season!
You can help the project – Go Fund Me link: gf.me/u/wjp3ua