Ukrainian Biologists Have Increased the International Whale Register Almost 15-Fold

by Olha Povaliaieva
Thursday, January 21, 2022
Ukrainian Biologists Have Increased the International Whale Register Almost 15-Fold

Ukrainian biologists have added 230 unique photos of whales

Thanks to Ukrainian scientists, the international register of humpback whales has increased almost 15-fold. This was reported on 13 January by the National antarctic science center on Facebook.

"At HappyWhale international base, there were only 15 humpback whales identified in the waters of the South Orkney Islands, which are located in the northeast from the Ukrainian antarctic station Academician Vernadsky. Now there are 211 individuals from this area, and it is all thanks to the difficult work of Ukrainian biologists," stressed in the post.

In winter 2021, scientists Karyna Vyshniakova and Yulyia Yvanchykov worked on the expedition on board the Ukrainian trawler ship Sea of the commonwealth for more than three months.

"Among their tasks was the photographic identification of whales: the tails of these animals have a unique pattern, like fingerprints of humans. The researchers stood on deck for hours and looked at the ocean waves to catch whale tails in photos. During the expedition, Yulyia and Karyna made more than 300 unique photos," told in the National Antarctic science centre of Ukraine.

After processing the photo, a catalog of 275 identified animals was created in 

Ukraine. Good quality images were uploaded to the international whale base. There was a total of 230.

"There was a white spot in this region of the Southern Ocean to identify whales. We were able to gather enough data to close it," scientists said.

"It turned out that about 10 whales from the South Orkney Islands had been encountered off the coast of Panama and Brazil since 2006! This gives new insights into the migration of these animals, as it was previously thought that humpbacks did not migrate from the Southern Ocean to the high waters of the Atlantic," reported in the post.

Ukrainian scientists have been carrying out a unique project on the photo identification of whales for more than three years. The catalog already contains more than 750 identified humpbacks.

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