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17 July 2019

Rare Right Whale Song Recorded For The First Time

Researchers in Alaska have recorded the song of the North Pacific right whale – one of the rarest whales in the world.

humpback whales sing to each other, but now it turns out right whales have their own special songs as well.

Sound recorders have been anchored in the ocean in five separate locations in the Bering Sea off Alaska’s south-west coast for eight years. One of the repeating sound patterns they have recorded is now known to be the song of a male right whale.

Right whales produce a number of different sounds, including moans, screams, warbles and a call like a gunshot. 

There are three separate species of right whales; North Pacific, North Atlantic and Southern right whale.  All three were targeted by whalers as they were the ‘right’ whales to kill (this is because they were slow and easy to catch and provided huge amounts of meat and oil).

Sadly, so many were killed by hunters that the numbers of both the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales have failed to rebound even after decades of protection. This is partly because the whales still face human threats from entanglement in fishing equipment and boat collisions.

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