Earlier this week, our crew on the Esperanza awoke to find themselves surrounded by at least 50 humpback whales feeding in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. Leandra, our on-board scientist, captured some rare and unique underwater sounds as part of our ongoing research programme.
Humpback whales in the Southern Ocean with the Greenpeace vessel Esperanza.
You don't need to fire an exploding harpoon into a whale and
kill it in order to study it. While we deploy hydrophones and take
photographs as our Great Whale
Trail expedition continues, we are proving that the scientific
excuse for killing whales is a sham and we are demanding that the
Japanese government stop the whale hunt in the Southern Ocean.
This week we added research into whale song to the satellite
tracking, skin biopsy, and photo identification work in which we've
been collaborating with scientists from the International Fund for
Animal Welfare, Cook Islands Whale Research, and Opération Cétacés
© Greenpeace/Jiri Rezac
Humpback whales are the only whales that truly "sing", and it is
only the males that do it, usually when they are in their tropical
breeding grounds. But sometimes songs are heard while the whales
are migrating and very occasionally when they are feeding. So this
recording of a humpback singing in the Southern Ocean is very
valuable for research on humpback behaviour. Nobody really knows
why they sing but one of the most popular scientific theories is
that the males use it to show off to the females -- in much the
same way peacocks have elaborate tails in order to try and attract
a potential mate.
While Esperanza's crew documented this baleen banquet for
science, spectators from around in the world were able to take part
in a virtual whale watching trip
via the newly updated live web cam on the ship, which provided
a fantastic view from the top of the ship's mast.
Take Action: Stop the new whaling ship
If Japan succeeds in plans to build a new whaling factory ship, whaling could continue for decades. Write to the Japanese Prime Minister and demand he investigate the scandal of whaling subsidies.
Help raise money to save whales
Create your own Whale Defenders page; get your friends and family to help you defend the whales.