After nearly being hunted to extinction, southern right whales are making a comeback. But in critical areas their recovery is slower than it should be and serious new threats are emerging. We urgently need to know more - drones could unlock the answers...
© Fredrik Christiansen / Murdoch University
Southern right whales were almost wiped out by hunters in the 20th Century - their population dropped from 55,000 to just 300 in 1920’s. They're recovering, but in critical areas, they aren’t bouncing back quickly enough. They are still endangered in Australia – only 3,500 are known – and they face a whole new set of threats. Climate change threatens their food supply in Antartica, increased ship traffic and fishing nets are dangerous obstacles on their journey, and proposed oil and gas developments pose new danger to their home.
Compared to humpback and blue whales, there is still so much that is unknown about southern right whales. To ensure their survival and to help them overcome the new threats, researchers urgently need to conduct a health check on these gentle giants. Donate to fund an urgent health check.
Drones offer an exciting new way to check the health of whales, and gather data about their migration, feeding and breeding patterns. This exciting new technology can gather more high quality data in a way that doesn’t harm the animals and lowers risks for humans. Chip in to buy the drones needed.
© Chris Farrell Nature Photography / WWF-Aus
Meet the researcher
"Over the past 18 years, I’ve been lucky enough to research whales in incredible and remote places around the world. Working with partners and researchers in the field, we gather the information and stories, and take them to the decision makers. This means I put on a suit and tie a few times a year and go to Canberra to talk with the Minister for Environment about whales. And I go to international policy meetings to promote solutions like marine sanctuaries in the Southern Ocean – to protect critical whale habitats."
Donate and help Chris and his team keep protecting whales.
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