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Fin Whale - Balaenoptera physalus

In the early morning hours of 30th January 2011, while surveying for beaked whales, BMMRO scientists had a surprising sighting. They saw a massive blow which rose about 30 feet in the air and knew that was the blow of a very large whale! As the team approached more closely a 65-foot fin whale surfaced alongside. The animal was extremely close to shore, just south of Cross Harbour Point in South Abaco. BMMRO's team followed the lone animal as it travelled along the canyon wall until it rounded Southwest Point on its way back out to the Atlantic Ocean. A biopsy sample was obtained along with photo-identification images and acoustic recordings.

Fin whales are the second largest species of whale, and have asymmetrical head colouration with the left side of the head being quite dark, and the right side of the head being fairly light. Fin whales can reach 27 metres (71 feet) in length. Females are approximately 5-10% longer than males, and these whales can swim up to speeds of 37 km/h (23 mph).

Fin whales are listed as an endangered species and their numbers have not yet recovered from whaling. The only other record of fin whales in the Bahamas was from a stranding on March 4th 2000 in Lower Bogue, Eleuthera.

Should you happen to be out on the water and see a fin or any other whale or dolphin species, please try to take pictures and fill in our online sighting form. By contributing such data, you will be helping our understanding of the distribution and occurrence of marine mammals in the Bahamas.

News archives:
Dec - Manatees
Nov - Conference
Oct - Dolphins
Sep - Stranding
Aug - a blog
Jul - Poop!
Jun - Survey
May - Fin whale!
Apr - Internships
Mar - Conference
Feb - Education Officer
Jan - Minke whale!

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