Feeding grounds of the eastern South Pacific humpback whale population include the South Orkney Islands

Rosa, Luciano Dalla; Félix, Fernando; Stevick, Peter; Secchi, Eduardo Resende; Allen, Judith; Chater, Kim; Martin, Anthony Richard; Bassoi, Manuela


This paper reports on two photo-identified humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) that were sighted in different years in the proximity of the South Orkney Islands, at the boundary between the Scotia and Weddell seas(60854.5?S*46840.4?W and 60842.6?S*45833?W). One of the whales had been previously sighted off Ecuador, a breeding ground for the eastern South Pacific population. The other whale was subsequently resighted in Bransfield Strait, off the western Antarctic Peninsula, a well-documented feeding ground for the same population. These matches give support to a hypothesis that the area south of the South Orkney Islands is occupied by whales from the eastern South Pacific breeding stock. Consequently, we propose 408W as a new longitudinal boundary between the feeding grounds associated with the eastern South Pacific and western South Atlantic breeding stocks.

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