Elusive Narwhal Babies Spotted Gathering At Canadian Nursery

2016-01-12T16:01:51+00:00 January 12, 2016|
By studying these photos, Bertrand Charry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and his colleagues have managed to systematically count the number of baby narwhals there for the first time, a crucial step towards understanding how stable this population is. (Credit:  Bertrand Charry/Bruce Head Narwhal Study/Courtesy of Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation)

(Click to enlarge) By studying these photos, Bertrand Charry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and his colleagues have managed to systematically count the number of baby narwhals there for the first time, a crucial step towards understanding how stable this population is. (Credit: Bertrand Charry/Bruce Head Narwhal Study/Courtesy of Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation)

A surprise nursery of one of the world’s most elusive whales has been spotted in photographs taken from planes.

(From New Scientist/ Lesley Evans Ogden) — Narwhals, the single-tusked whales of the Arctic that have been dubbed the “unicorns of the sea”, are classified as “near-threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. But protecting these animals is hard, partly because we don’t know how many there are.

The animals spend about 80 per cent of their time under the water’s surface, and more than half the year in deep offshore waters below dense pack ice during the dark Arctic winter.

But in summer, the narwhals move to coastal inlets, where they give birth, giving us a chance to count them. About every five years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) uses aerial photographs taken from planes to assess the numbers of narwhals living in the Canadian Arctic – about three quarters of their global population.

Read the full article here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28729-elusive-narwhal-babies-spotted-gathering-at-canadian-nursery/