2009 05 22 Another recent match by Dr Stevick Print
Written by Andrew Stevenson   

 

The whale on the left, our # 0267 1 bdc 2009 04 20 as- was photographed on both the 19th and 20th of April on Challenger banks this year. The first record of this whale was a photograph by Prof Hal Whitehead in Trinity Bay Newfoundland in 1978 and 1979 and then again in 1989 in Samana Bay by a team led by Center for Coastal Stuidies. The match was made by Dr Peter Stevick at Allied Whale.

Last year I thought we were doing well with something like nine matches, whale fluke ids we had taken that had been matched to photographs taken of the ventral side of the whale's fluke from previous years. But the matches count has gone up dramatically recently as we start processing the 200 fluke ids we made this year. I think we are closing in on fifty matches so far since we've been taking fluke ids over the last three years. I've lost track. Camilla Stringer is helping to keeping tabs on this on the Bermuda side, but she's behind right now and doesn't have a complete picture. If we have 300 whale fluke ids in three years, and there are fifty matches, that leaves 250 whales that are being identified for the first time. Of the matches that have been made, it is remarkable how many of them are matched to photographs taken thirty years or more ago.

Dr Peter Stevick, Judy Allen, Rosie Seton, and Adrianna at Allied Whale, College of the Atlantic are going through our Bermuda fluke ids and trying to match them up with some 7,000 fluke ids of North Atlantic humpback whales in their master catalogue. By the end of the summer we should have a summary of what we have found and I think it is going to show some interesting trends. More about that in the coming weeks and months. If we can keep this fluke id count at the 200 level for the next few years, we will definitely be getting enough data for a clearer picture of the whales' patterns of movements.