Sunday 26 February 2017

It's a whale of a journey -- into the record books

John von Radowitz in Washington

A humpback whale has travelled the longest distance recorded for any mammal, swimming across nearly a quarter of the globe between two breeding grounds.

The female whale's incredible journey began off the coast of Brazil and ended at Madagascar, almost 10,000km away.

The whale, known as Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue no 1363, was photographed there two years after first being identified by researchers on Abrolhos Bank, Brazil, in August 1999. Scientists do not know whether the whale's epic trip was deliberate or the result of a navigational accident.

Humpback whales are known for long-distance migrations, regularly travelling 5,000km between breeding and feeding grounds.

However, these journeys generally take them north and south, not east or west.

Such a long trip between breeding areas is unexpected in a female, because it is more normal for male mammals to wander in search of mates.

Irish Independent

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