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See How Huge Blue Whales Really Are

Drone Footage Shows the Enormous Size of the Rare and Endangered Blue Whale.

Blue whales are the largest animals to ever exist on Earth, even larger than the dinosaurs, reaching a length of approximately 100 feet and a weight of 200 tons or more, with a heart the size of a small car.   They were nearly hunted to extinction before finally receiving international protection in 1966.

California Blue Whales

Incredibly, a University of Washington study in 2014 using historical ship strike data to model the size of blue whale populations indicates that the number of blue whales in California has rebounded to near pre-whaling levels (this only applies to California, not to other populations in the world).  Blue whales are now commonly seen off of Dana Point, located between Los Angeles and San Diego, with most sightings occurring between May and October.

Checking the sighting log at Dana Wharf Sportsfishing and Whale Watching, 4 blue whales were spotted just yesterday (August 27, 2015).  The sighting log since November 2014 includes 689 blue whales (!) in addition to 13 Orcas, 1994 Gray Whales, 384 Humpback Whales, 227 Fin Whales, 150 Minke Whales, 90+ False Killer Whales, 116 Pilot Whales, 100+ Sperm Whales, 18 Bryde’s Whales, 5 Great White Sharks, 12 Mako Sharks, 9 Hammerhead Sharks, 1 Thresher Shark.  I would imagine that these sighting numbers include some double-counting of the same animal seen across multiple days.

Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari in Dana Point shot this wonderful drone footage of blue whales offshore.  You can see as he launches the drone that his boat is not a small one, and yet it is dwarfed by the size of these whales.

At the end of the video there is also footage of gray whales with their calves and a “megapod” of several thousand dolphins.  I’ve been lucky enough to encounter a superpod of spinner dolphins underwater off of Maui, and what you don’t get from aerial video is the all-encompassing sound of them squealing and clicking as they surge by.

 

Sri Lanka Blue Whales

The largest known colony of blue whales lives year-round near Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.  All other known blue whale populations are migratory.  Here, 35-year old US film-maker Patrick Dykstra also captures drone footage of blue whales that dwarf his kayak.  His video also includes underwater footage of him swimming with the whales. Such close contact may still be allowed in Sri Lanka, but it is against the law in the US.

This is an excellent news piece from Sunday Night on the Australian Seven Network.  Marine biologist Asha de Vos is studying the Sri Lankan blue whales, in part to learn if shipping routes can be slightly altered to avoid whale strikes.

 

Why You Should Care About Whale Poo

And finally, here is Asha giving a TedTalk about something you never considered before:  Why You Should Care About Whale Poo.  🙂

 

Source:

Dana Wharf Sportsfishing and Whale Watching

Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari

Sunday Night, an Australian news and current affairs program produced and broadcast by the Seven Network.

Monnahan, C. C., Branch, T. A. and Punt, A. E. (2015), Do ship strikes threaten the recovery of endangered eastern North Pacific blue whales?. Marine Mammal Science, 31: 279–297. doi: 10.1111/mms.12157

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