Featured Image: us.whales.org
Like their counterparts in the Atlantic, North Pacific right whales are extremely close to extinction. The animals were hunted by whalers for decades, leaving the population permanently damaged. It is extremely rare for scientists to encounter these whales, but one group was able to record the song of the North Pacific right whale through moored acoustic recorders. According to NOAA fisheries marine biologist, Jessica Crance, this is the first time this whale’s song has ever been recorded.
Back in 2010, Crance and other scientists thought they had recorded a North Pacific right whale but were unable to confirm it. Crance says, “We thought it might be a right whale, but we didn’t get visual confirmation.” Seven years of recordings later, the crew was out at sea as a right whale sang over the moored recorders. At that point, the crew was able to get a confirmation of the right whale’s identity. Crance says, “it was great to finally get the confirmation when we were out at sea that yes, it is a right whale, and it’s a male that’s singing.”
The male sings to attract a mate, however with just 30 total whales remaining, it is likely difficult for these animals to find each other.