Scientists go to Sakhalin to monitor gray whale

A team of scientists of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (FEB RAS) on Thursday left Vladivostok to Sakhalin for population monitoring in the Red Book of gray whales that migrate annually to the Okhotsk Sea for feeding, told RIA Novosti the head of the expedition, lead engineer Pacific Oceanological Institute Maxim Fidorenko.

Gray whales are listed in the Red Book of Russia, live in the North Pacific Ocean. There are two herds of whales: the Korean-Okhotsk-Chukotka and California. They are all champions in distance travel: annual whale swims an average of 16,000 miles. When the animal is quite slow moving, his usual speed of 7-10 miles per hour.

«The study of the Okhotsk-Korean population of gray whales conducted by scientists FEB RAS for years. This year the expedition, among scientists, as students-biologists. Together with the specialists they will engage counting animals and observe their behavior,» — said .

According to him, every summer to feed the Sea of Okhotsk come 120-140 gray whales. In addition to Russian experts, observing them are scientists from the U.S. and Europe.

«This year we will continue to study whale populations using the photo-ID: this animal pictures from different angles, and then compare the image with pictures of past years. This makes it possible to determine who returned to the Sea of Okhotsk, and find out the fate of last year’s cubs» — said the source.

He noted that the data collected by scientists, FEB RAS, also used by specialists of other research institutions. In particular, they help in the work of the staff of the Moscow Institute of the Severtsev dealing tagged whales.

«Unfortunately, it is clear that the latter is marked last year lost whale satellite tag approaching the Sea of Okhotsk. However, during the experiment, it became known that at least part of the gray whales migrate in winter to the shores of California,» — said .

He added that the expedition of scientists, FEB RAS in the Okhotsk Sea will continue until the migration of gray whales, which normally starts in September.

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