#humpbackhighway

WHALES OF PONTA

Check out our species of interest...

 

PHOTO ID

Between the months of June and November we welcome the majestic humpback whale migration where we observe these graceful beings moving  between their Antarctic summer feeding grounds and winter breeding grounds closer to the equator. Researchers are able to tell humpback whales apart by studying both the flukes and dorsal fins and Southern Right Whales are identifiable through the callosities found on their head! 


From land; breaches, blows and pec waves can be seen as the whales pass by in large numbers. Whilst at sea is it quite possible that you may find yourself in close proximity to these energetic surface behaviours that are used as a form of communication. During this time our waters come alive as the whales can be heard communicating down below. Grunts and groans and barks and squawks are some of the social sounds whales use. Males are famous for their structured songs which are said to be used as a sexual advertisement directed to females and establishing male dominance.​


Research suggest that the migration is highly structured; females with nursing calves tend to leave first, followed by immatures of both sexes, then the mature males and resting females and lastly females in late pregnancy start the treck. These departures tend to last around a month. On departing breeding grounds, first off are newly pregnant and resting females, followed by the immatures, mature males and lastly females with newborns. Reference: P.Best


There are three populations of humpback whales that cruise around the African continent. Through establishing a network of collaborators, we will eventually be able to assertion which population uses the Mozambican corridor. 


Southern Rights are a rare and exciting visitor to our shores, after their near demise from whaling during which time they were reduced from estimates of 60 000 to only 300 (60 breeding females) in 1920 (IWC, 2001; Jackson et al., 2008; Tormosov et al., 1998).

Although only a few sightings have been had of this species it provides evidence that southern right whales are using the coastal waters of Mozambique again. 

HUMPBACK WHALE

2018 = 117

(Megaptera novaeangliae)
The Humpback whale is a baleen whale, meaning that they have no teeth, rather a series of baleen plates with fine hairs that they use to filter the water for the likes of krill, plankton and small fish. They consume vast numbers of small organisms by vacuum-cleaning the ocean. The Humpback Whale has a short and squat dorsal fin and ventral pleats that run from the lower jaw to belly. They are dark on top with varying shades white on the belly, tail and flippers. Knob like tubicals can be found on and around the head, chin and jaw. 


SIZE: 10m = 14,9 tonnes
DISTRIBUTION: Occurs throughout the Southern African Subregion
BALEEN: 300 pairs of plates
DIET: Krill, shrimp like crustaceans; small fish (1 - 1,2 tons p/day)
LONGEVITY: ± 45 to 50 years
GESTATION: ± 12 months
MATURITY: ± 13m in length


CONSERVATION STATUS
Red List (ICUN): Vulnerable 

SOUTHERN RIGHT WHALE

2018 = 1

(Eubalaena australis) ​

The Southern Right Whale received its name as it was the ‘right’ whale to hunt during whaling. They are distinguishable from Humpbacks by having a broad back and no dorsal fin, they have callosities on their heads (which are used for identification proposes) and a large arching mouth that starts above the eye. These whales have a reputation for being particularly curious towards humans!

Although only a few sightings have been had of this species it provides evidence that southern right whales are using the coastal waters of Mozambique again.


SIZE: 10,78 = 16,34 tonnes

DISTRIBUTION: South of 20º S
TEETH: ± 37 pairs
DIET: Krill, copepods & small crustacea

LONGEVITY:  ±50 to 70
GESTATION:  ± 12 to 13 months 

MATURITY: ± 14m in length


CONSERVATION STATUS

Red List (ICUN): Conservation dependent

 
 

Operations: Ponta do Ouro, Mozambique

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