An international team of researchers has discovered a new population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean. Details of the opening are reported by the journal Endangered Species Research.
Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth and are found throughout the world in all oceans. Their songs, at very low frequencies, are unique in nature. Each whale population has its own distinct sound. This is very convenient for researchers, each population has its own unique song. Scientists recently recognized a new blue whale song that can be heard from the coast of the Arabian Sea in Oman to the Chagos archipelago in the central Indian Ocean.
Salvatore Cerchio, Director of the African Water Conservation Foundation’s Cetacean Program, analyzed recordings of whale sounds at three locations in the western Indian Ocean. Cherkio has also worked with a group of scientists collecting acoustic recordings off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. This is part of a research effort to study the critically endangered humpback whale of the Arabian Sea.
Analyzing additional acoustic data, the scientists recognized the same unusual song. And it became clear to the researchers that they had discovered a previously unrecognized population of blue whales in the western Indian Ocean.
During the 20th century, blue whale populations around the world declined to a critical level. In the past few decades, they have begun to recover very slowly from a global moratorium on commercial whaling. The Arabian Sea became the target of illegal whaling in the 1960s, which almost completely eradicated small populations of humpback whales, blue whales, sperm whales, and Bride’s whales.
Some researchers believe that blue whales in the North Indian Ocean and humpback whales in the Arabian Sea constitute unique subspecies, not just populations, which make them special and important for biodiversity.