Where are all the whales? Lack of food to blame for dearth of southern rights

Experts believe a lack of food is responsible for declining numbers of southern right whales being found off the Cape coast.

At last count, there were only 200 in the area – the second-lowest figure since 1995.

An aerial survey was carried out by the University of Pretoria between Nature’s Valley and Muizenberg at the end of Septemeber into the first week of October.

Research manager Dr Els Vermeulen says compared with last year's figures of 536, the numbers are low.

We're seeing fewer whales completing the migration to South Africa and the females that have the strong motivation to migrate to give birth are doing so in the lower frequencies.

Dr Els Vermeulen, Research manager of the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit - University of Pretoria 

All of this points to energy levels, which points to food availability levels.

Dr Els Vermeulen, Research manager of the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit - University of Pretoria 

But Vermeulen says the issue is not one of a declining population of southern rights, but rather the distribution of the population.

The population is still increasing, but at a slower rate.

Dr Els Vermeulen, Research manager of the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit - University of Pretoria 

Listen to the full interview below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Where are all the whales? Lack of food to blame for dearth of southern rights


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