Posted on

In ‘one of nature’s greatest events’ a party of over 150 ocean giants, signals hope for vulnerable species

In 'one of nature's greatest events' a party of over 150 ocean giants, signals hope for vulnerable species

In a “thrilling” Antarctic spectacle, for the first time since whaling was banned, dozens of southern fin whales were spotted feasting together. This has been hailed by scientists as a sign of hope for the world’s second-largest animal, second in length only to blue whales. The ocean giants possess a slender body that helps them glide through water at a really high speed. However, even this speed couldn’t help them evade whaling. In the 20th century, they were driven to near-extinction by hunters who systematically shattered populations of whales globally. Their numbers reached an alarming one to two per cent of the original population size. A whaling ban in the 1970s helped rescue the mysterious animal from the brink of nothingness.

Although researchers claim that southern fin whale populations have been slowly increasing following a 1976 whaling ban, there have been only been a few reports of these fascinating creatures in big groups at their traditional feeding areas.

Watch | Non-vegetarians, will you make changes to save Earth?

But scientists and filmmakers were able to record footage of up to 150 southern fin whales in Antarctica, in what Herr called “one of nature’s greatest events.”

Wildlife filmmakers from the BBC captured footage of the fin whales using a drone as they swooped and lunged through the water, launching huge bursts of air as they surfaced. 

Also read | World is undergoing sixth mass extinction and things don’t look good for humans

According to Helena Herr, a researcher at the University of Hamburg and the study’s primary author, “one or two percent of their original population size.”

“We’re talking about a couple of thousand animals left for the whole southern hemisphere area.”

The scientists unofficially dubbed it the “fin whale party” as the massive animals feasted on swirling krill swarms.

Also read | Climate change threatens Emperor penguins; species faces extinction in 30 years

Fin whales were observed in around a hundred groups over two voyages in 2018 and 2019; these groups ranged in size from eight enormous congregations of up to 150 whales to small gatherings of just a few individuals.

Prior to now, feeding groups of whales were only ever observed with a maximum of twelve members.

The authors calculate that there may be close to 8,000 fin whales in the Antarctic region using information from their surveys. Fin whales are presently classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and it is thought that there are 100,000 of them worldwide, with the majority living in the northern hemisphere.

(With inputs from agecies)

Posted on

What’s the buzz with pollinators? Help nature’s fertilizers at these June events in Ann Arbor

What’s the buzz with pollinators? Help nature’s fertilizers at these June events in Ann Arbor

ANN ARBOR – Birds, bees, butterflies and bats work hard to keep Tree Town green by carrying pollen between flowing area plants.

On Saturday, June 25, the City of Ann Arbor Natural Area Preservation will help local pollinators by clearing weeds and invasive plant species at two parks.

Between 9 a.m. and noon, volunteers will gather at the Dolph Bioswale and remove aggressive non-native plants so as to create a bountiful ecosystem. According to a release, community members can meet NAP workday helpers at the trailhead off Parklake Avenue.

Read: Let’s talk about Michigan’s invasive trees and shrubs: How to identify them and the threat they pose


Starting at 1 p.m., volunteers can meet at Lakewood Nature Area to clear invasive weeds so that Lakewood pollinators have better access to the nature area’s unique Kentucky coffeetree plants. Volunteers will meet at the park entrance on Sunnywood Drive and will work until 4 p.m.

The two Ann Arbor events are planned as part of National Pollinator Week, a nationwide effort by the nonprofit Pollinator Partnership.

Tools will be provided but participants should plan to wear long pants, gloves and close-toed shoes, says a release.

Online preregister for NAP events is encouraged. Register to help at Dolph Bioswale here, and at Lakewood Nature Area here.


Read more: What you can do to help prevent spread of invasive pests, protect plant health this summer

Copyright 2022 by WDIV ClickOnDetroit – All rights reserved.