The whale traveled halfway around world sets a record – is one of the most mysterious marine species ever to be discovered. Even though they are not as dangerous as sharks, they rule the sea thanks to their humungous size. Whales roam the oceans of the whole world, coming across mysterious sounds and communicating in ways not known to humans. They are considered special because of their exceptional size.
The most commonly known whale – the blue whale – is more than 100 feet and its weight can exceed 200 tons. More than the weight of 33 elephants combined.
Just like human beings, whales are mammals and need air to breathe in. Due to this, whales surface above the water before diving back in with a huge splash. They are warm-blooded species that ate kept warm by an insulating fat called blubber.
What if I told you that there was a whale that made history by traveling halfway around the world? Would you believe me? If not, read ahead to find out the true story.
A few facts about whales
Before we dive deeper into the article. You must know why migrating halfway across the globe is a big deal for a whale. For that, here are a few facts that will give a better understanding of whales:
- There are two main groups of whales: the baleen whales and the toothed whales. The former filters out and consumes krill and plankton with the help of baleens while the latter can eat larger prey thanks to their sharp teeth. Dolphins are also classified as toothed whales.
- Humpback whales eat very less throughout the whole year: these whales are found in the Southern hemisphere and live off the fat that lasts them 5.5 to 7.5 months. While consuming this fat, these whales migrate to the Atlantic Ocean where they feast on the krill.
- Some whales bubble net feed: This is a trap whales set for their prey. When their prey approaches, the whales blow bubbles toward them which they cannot escape. This makes eating much easier for the whale.
From the above facts, we come to know that every whale has a specific living environment, type of prey, and eating method. So it is not the same for everyone right?
The whale traveled halfway around world sets a record was concluded to be a grey whale that was a male. What are some facts about grey whales, you ask?
A grey whale is a baleen whale, that has a small head and no dorsal fin. Instead, they have 9 to 13 bumps from the back midpoint to the tail’s fluke. A newborn grey whale can be about 16 feet long, while a male adult can be about 43 feet in length. A female grey whale is the longest, ranging between 46 to 49 feet in length. The lifespan of these whales is about 40 years, and they are considered to become devils if angered.
These whales usually live in the eastern north pacific ocean. They spend summers in the icy waters of the Bering and Chucki seas, and they start their migration as soon as ice chunks approach their habitat. Grey whales are said to be to greatest migrators ever known in mammal history.
What is so special about them?
The grey whale is the only member left of the Baleen whale family Eschrichtiidae. They are endangered and are rarely seen out of the southern hemisphere.
The great migration
Even though grey whales are great migrators, they are endangered species and have never been known to travel more than 6,000 miles.
In the year 2013, the male cetacean grey whale migrated 16,700 miles across the world where it was spotted in the Southern Hemisphere. It took researchers many years to confirm that the whale had in fact migrated from the Northern Hemisphere in 2013.
To be precise, the grey whale was spotted on the coast of Namibia in the Southern Atlantic Ocean. There, samples of DNA were collected from the whale’s skin on which several experiments were conducted to confirm its origins. The whale was said to be from the endangered western north pacific population, which made the discovery even more surprising.
“This is the record really for an in-water migration if you’re assuming that this individual started its life in the north-west Pacific and it found its way to Namibia,” says Hoelzel, “That’s as far as any vertebrate has ever gone in the water, as far as we know.”
After the great migration, the grey whale seemed exhausted and malnourished, which is why it stayed in Walvis Bay for two months. What surprised the scientists more was the fact that there were no known reasons as to why the great whale migrated so far.
Eastern and Western grey whales
The eastern grey whales are said to have a steady population of around 20,500 or more, while the western grey whales are endangered with only an estimated 200 present in the world. There is not much information present on the latter species, except that they feed around eastern Russia.
When Elwen, a co-author in the study and zoologist heard about the discovery of the grey whale in 2013, he said,
“I was a bit dismissive. It’s like someone saying they saw a polar bear in Paris—technically it could get there, but it just doesn’t seem very realistic.”
Not only humans but also marine life species are capable of making history. The grey male whale traveled halfway around world sets record had concluded to have traveled about 20,000 miles across the globe into a coast it was never seen before in. What is more, this whale was from an endangered species, which piqued an interest in human investigation.
There are also many marine animal protection organizations that keep an eye on the whales and regularly organize events to call for more attention to marine animals. For example, they provide delicate items with marine animal designs at events: stickers, pins, bracelets, etc. Custom lapel pins no minimum, and promotional gifts like these are great to use as event attractors.