Skip to content
All news
  • All news
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Corporates
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
  • Stranding
  • Whale watching

US government refuses to shield endangered right whales from lethal ship collisions

The Biden administration in the US has denied an emergency petition that seeks to protect...

Automated cruelty – vending machines in Japan now dispense dead whale

In an effort to prop up the cruel and declining whale hunting industry in Japan,...

The Yogscast raises an ocean-sized donation for WDC

The New Year started with a bang for whales and dolphins thanks to Bristol-based gaming...
Russia captive orca NARNIA_2017_2 CREDIT Oxana Fedorova

Narnia the orca dies at Russian dolphinarium

Narnia the orca performs in Russia © Oxana Fedorova Narnia, a wild orca taken from...

Earthquake disrupts sperm whales’ feeding for a year

Sperm whales have large brains © Douglas Hoffman

A new study has revealed how an earthquake affected the ability of a group of ‘dazed and confused’ whales to find food for over a year.

Kaikoura is a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand known for its abundant marine wildlife including a population of sperm whales.

On November 14th, 2016 a 7.8-magnitude earthquake shook the region triggering widespread mudslides in the underwater canyon off the coastline, altering the undersea landscape.

Scientists had been monitoring over 50 sperm whales in local waters for many years before the tremors hit. After the earthquake it was noticed that the whales spent about 25 per cent more time at the surface than before.

Researchers from the University of Otago had the advantage of all the previous data, so when the earthquake struck they knew where the sperm whales were and also their usual behaviour patterns.

‘With sperm whales, because they feed at deep depth and spend so much time underwater, it's hard to know exactly what is going on but you can use these times at the surface to determine what they are doing,’  says lead researcher, Dr Marta Guerra.

More time on the surface means the whales were probably spending time and effort diving and searching for food because of less prey to feed on or having to "re-familiarise" themselves with underwater areas that may have changed.

The study also found large underwater sounds produced by earthquakes and aftershocks caused hearing damage and behavioural changes.

The whales' behavioural changes lasted for around a year before returning to normal levels.

More fascinating facts about whales and dolphins.

[shariff]

Related News

US government refuses to shield endangered right whales from lethal ship collisions

The Biden administration in the US has denied an emergency petition that seeks to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales from being struck and killed...

Automated cruelty – vending machines in Japan now dispense dead whale

In an effort to prop up the cruel and declining whale hunting industry in Japan, one company is desperately attempting to increased consumption of whale...
tins of whale meat

How Japan’s whaling industry is trying to convince people to eat whales

Japan's hunters kill hundreds of whales every year despite the fact that hardly anyone in Japan eats whale meat. But rather than have them hang...
Common dolphins © Christopher Swann

Did you know dolphins have personalities?

Kidzone - quick links Fun Facts Our Goals Curious kids Kids blogs Fantastic fundraisers Gallery We all have personalities It's not so different for dolphins...

Leave a Comment