2010 10 20- Brazil-tagged whale Print E-mail
Written by Andrew Stevenson   




"Here's Alex Zerbini's Brazilian tag (one of several, and the earliest migrator - if that's actually a word).


Marcia Engel in Brazil kindly corrected something I'd said in my first message about this whale, or rather the connection between Brazil and South Georgia.  I quote her here:




"We do have information of the occurrence of the Brazilian humpbacks in South Georgia. Despite they currently occur in small numbers, two biopsy samples collected off South Georgia in 2006 produced very important results, showing 1) both the whales from SG shared identical mtDNA haplotypes to whales from the Abrolhos Bank; 2) a female sampled off SG Island showed a putative parent-offspring relationship with a female off Abrolhos bank, also supporting the migratory link between these 2 areas.

Also, the photoid comparisons done in 2004 resulted in a match between Shag Rocks, west of South Georgia and the Abrolhos Bank. Finally, a comparison between Abrolhos Bank and the South Sandwich also resulted in

4 matches.  In conclusion, we do believe that the feeding ground is in the South Georgia and South Sandwich waters. We agree that the whaling reduced greatly the numbers, but there are still humpback whales in the SG region and based in the evidences from genetic and photoid it must be also considered as their feeding ground.  At the same time, nobody knows what are the numbers of humpbacks near South Sandwich."


Tony Martin further notes his belief that humpbacks do return to South Georgia, but that they don't stay because these days the abundant seals are eating most of the krill."


Phil Clapham

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