[News] Whales change behaviour because of humans

Whale migration patterns are changing because of climate warming. A whale and climate change researcher in Australia warns that in Queensland the humpbacks arrive and leave earlier than before.

Humpbacks sightings in the San Francisco area began in March this year. In the past whale watchers had to wait until late April.

This isn’t the first time whales have changed their behaviour because of humans. Research published today (17th March) suggests many sperm whales told each other to avoid hunters in the 19th-century north Pacific.

Whalers logbooks show that the harpoon strike rate fell by 58% within a few years. Researchers believe the sperm whales communicated with each other about the whalers, helping some animals to steer clear.

The endangered North Atlantic right whale population may also be adapting to climate change. With 18 newborns recorded, they are enjoying their most successful breeding season since 2013.

Whale researcher Philip Hamilton hopes “It may also be that it’s an indication that they are finally adapting to a very different feeding regime.”

Over the last 10 years the whales have shifted from their traditional feeding ground, where waters have warmed three times faster than in the rest of the world’s oceans.

And finally, this feel good footage captured off the Californian coast shows two grey whales hugging. The whales are on their 12,000 mile annual migration from their breeding grounds in Mexico to their feeding grounds in Alaska.

Whales news round up

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