STATES CHRONICLE – Researchers have spotted massive groups of humpback whales off the coast of South Africa. Humpback whales are usually known as being solitary mammals. They prefer to be alone rather than in large groups. Nevertheless, the latest events indicated the exact opposite. These giants were spotted gathering in big groups of up to two hundred individuals.
Humpback whales gathered in massive groups
Scientists are wondering how such an event could happen since whales do not gather in groups larger than 20 individuals. This is an odd kind of event. Ken Findlay, the lead author of the study who conducted a team of researchers from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, claimed that he has never witnessed anything like this before.
He conducted the team of researchers to follow and observe how whales gather in groups and they were also asked to analyze their behavior. These researchers developed three separate reports, examining groups of whales in 2011, 2014 and 2015. They were able to observe them with the help of aircraft and drones, but also by boat.
Researchers believe that the main reason for these group is food
Humpback whales from the Southern Hemisphere usually migrate from the polar feeding territories in summer towards nursing and calving grounds in tropical and subtropical waters during winter. Findlay and his team observed that some whales remained on the South African coast instead of migrating. Alex Zerbini, a wildlife biologist at the Cascadia Research Collective, claims that these massive creatures may be searching for food.
He argued that over time, the social habits of humpback whales did not change, despite locating super-groups of about two hundred individuals. Nevertheless, if these mammals detected massive concentrations of food, they will tend to gather around their meal, forming massive groups. Zerbini also explained that populations of humpback whales have developed to reach outstanding numbers in recent years.
This species had finally indicated a sign of recovery from whaling back in the 20th century when they were on the verge of extinction. He also noted that when there are more whales in the ocean, they also end to group and researchers see more whales. This happens due to the high number of such mammals. It is clear that, like any other species, they gather where they found a large amount of food. Apparently, their diet mainstay of krill has reached outstanding numbers in some habitats.
These massive gatherings only represent a sign of wellness, where humpback whales have triumphantly returned in large numbers.
Image source: wikipedia