Science

Humpback Whales Habitats Discovered Near Madagascar

By Rodney Rafols , Jan 09, 2017 03:02 AM EST
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 23: A humpback whale is seen breaching outside of Sydney Heads at the beginning of whale watching season during a Manly Whale Watching tour on June 23, 2011 in Sydney, Australia. The first day of winter in New South Wales, June 1st, marks the start of the Humback and southern right whales migration from southern regions to the north to warmer waters. Whale watchers should expect too have plenty to see with the whale population increasing each year. The migration north continues through July and with the whales returning between September and November. (Photo : Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Whales in general are still endangered, though with measure in place many whale populations have stabilized. Still, threats to their survival remain. Humpback whales habitats have been discovered near Madagascar, which are threatened by human activity.

The habitats of humpback whales have been discovered as exploration for more energy in the region has also increased. The habitats of the humpback whales there have been found when some of the satellite tagged whales have been found to be travelling in parts much farther into the Indian Ocean. Twenty three of those humpback whales have been tagged for the study.

Dr. Salvatore Cerchio from the New England Aquarium has led the study while working with the Wildlife Conservation Society based in New York. The study has also been done in collaboration with the University of Paris Sud, the NGO Cetamada from Madagascar and the NOAA National Marine Mammal Lab in Seattle. The humpback whales travel to the Indian Ocean to breed and calf during the winter months.

The study has found interesting observations of humpback whales. It has found that male humpback whales have movement patterns different from female humpback whales. Females have long distance movements while males have been seen having a more localized movement pattern.

There are two areas that have been identified to be significant for humpback whales in the area. Whales from the northeast go to the central east coast of Madagascar, while those who are tagged from the southwest spend more time in the southern coast. The movement areas have previously not been known, according to Phys Org.

During the study, a historic event occurred wherein a lone male humpback has been seen coming from east Africa all the way to southern Somalia. During the trip the whale has been seen crossing the equator. This has been the first humpback whale to have crossed the equator in the Indian Ocean. Another one spotted are a mother and a calf coming from Madagascar going to Kenya, as Science Daily reports.

The study has much relevance since it shows that humpback whale populations can mix in the southwest Indian Ocean. Much of the information is important to the International Whaling Commission, which is making conservation efforts for whales in general. The significance of the study is much, as humpback whales habitats have been discovered near Madagascar. Bacteria has forced to close some of the beaches in Australia.

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