Blue Whale Watching <i>Balaenoptera musculus</i>
29 June, 2023

Blue Whale Watching Balaenoptera musculus

July 5th, 2023 Periodista Gabriela.Gutiérrez

Carried out during the 2023 Campaign, Aquaculture Environmental Performance in Chile Project and its effects on site ecosystems

Rodrigo Jaramillo, Johana Ojeda, Pamela Ramírez Fisheries Development Institute professionals. Within Aquaculture in Chile Environmental Assessment and its Impacts on Site Ecosystems project framework, systematic campaigns are carried out that cover an southern archipelagos extensive area. These campaigns are an excellent platform for recording and observing charismatic fauna made up of birds and mammals. During the 2023 campaign, a total of five sightings of the Blue Whale species (Balaenoptera musculus) were documented, on different dates.

Blue Whales observations were made following Fisheries Undersecretariat regulations for cetaceans observation. This regulation establishes a minimum distance of 300 meters, constant navigation speed and approach maneuvers from the rear, while possible changes in the animals behavior are guarded. The places where the sightings were made were: Ayacara (4 individuals), Puerto Cisnes (3 individuals), Canal Jacaf (2 individuals), Caleta Gala-Melimollu (3 individuals) and Isla Tac (3 individuals).

Wales identification was carried out by observing the angle of the blow in each breath and photographs of the animals’ backs. In addition, videos were taken to confirm later identification.

Also, charismatic birds and mammals observations were made, such as Patos Quetros (Tachyeres pteneres), southern dolphins (Lagenorhynchus australis), otarids (Otaria flavescens), Albatross (Thalassarche melanophrys), Fardelas (Puffinus griseus), Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), carancas (Chloephaga hybrida), boobies (Sula variegata), pelicans (Pelecanus thagus), cormorants (Phalacrocorax magellanicus and Phalacrocorax brasilianus), South American tern (Sterna hirundinacea) and gulls.

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