Preprint Brief Report Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

A Potential Nursing Ground for the Southern Right Whale Eubalaena australis in Northern Chile

Version 1 : Received: 23 December 2020 / Approved: 25 December 2020 / Online: 25 December 2020 (07:07:22 CET)

How to cite: García-Cegarra, A.M.; Malebran, M.; Van Waerebeek, K. A Potential Nursing Ground for the Southern Right Whale Eubalaena australis in Northern Chile. Preprints 2020, 2020120640 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0640.v1). García-Cegarra, A.M.; Malebran, M.; Van Waerebeek, K. A Potential Nursing Ground for the Southern Right Whale Eubalaena australis in Northern Chile. Preprints 2020, 2020120640 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202012.0640.v1).

Abstract

The Chile-Peru subpopulation (CPe) of the southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) is classified as critically endangered following intense whaling in past centuries. Due to their very low abundance, information on breeding and feeding grounds is also scarce. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly applied in marine mammal research thanks to their low cost and relative ease of use. This case study documents a southern right whale nursing in Bahía Moreno (23ºS), Antofagasta, northern Chile, through high-resolution images taken by UAV of a lone adult in July 2019 and the same (photo-identified) whale with a neonate in August, confirming local parturition. Combined with earlier data we hypothesize that the Antofagasta Region may be a calving and nursing ground for the CPe subpopulation. Given the intense shipping traffic and fishing activities around the Mejillones Peninsula and Antofagasta port, priorly recommended marine spatial planning to help avoid net entanglements and vessel collisions of fin and humpback whales would also contribute to the conservation of the CPe stock of southern right whale.

Subject Areas

breeding; nursery gound; Eubalaena australis; Chile; Humboldt Current System; mark-recapture; drone

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