Humpback whales may have a very distinctive body shape and all kinds of conspicuous habits such as mysterious songs or feeding techniques based on bubbles. However, their most known trait as a community is their isolation. Rarely have a small group of such specimens managed to stay united for several months. Usually, they cooperate with one another for a faster feeding process. However, this trait has been pulverized as of recently. Thousands of solitary humpback whales teamed up together to the very surprise of scientists.
Solitary Humpback Whales Are Gathering off the Coast of South Africa
The unusual behavior of solitary humpback whales is giving some food for thought to scientists. If back days a group of 20 individuals was considered massive, they are now gathering together in communities of even 200 members. This event has become a usual sight off the coast of South Africa. Scientists can’t explain for the moment what moved this species into proceeding in such an odd way.
In addition, humpback whales didn’t usually inhabit this location for this time of the year. They did use to visit tropical regions for breeding purposes. However, this period of time was designated for massive migrations to Antarctic waters where they can find rich sources of food. The observations regarding the new behavior of solitary humpback whales were published in journal PLOSone. While researchers have some clues to what determined this disruption, there is no clear answer yet.
Several Ideas, But No Clear Explanation of this Phenomenon
First of all, most of the members of the new groups are young individuals. This means that they might be the pioneers of a new type of community for humpback whales. They are young enough to still have the urge of exploration running in their blood. They might have the ambition to find new feeding spots with rich sources of food that could satiate the entire population. However, no matter how many communities of krill or small fish they find, it is still difficult to find a good place to feed 200 members of 65,000 pounds each.
While usually, a good place of feeding could be a good explanation to large communities of humpback whales, scientists have one more theory. At one point in their history, the population of such species was eradicated to a proportion of 90% because of hunting. In light of this concerning phenomenon, the solitary humpback whales became a protected species in 1996. Thus, scientists take into consideration the idea that this species was always so friendly. However, their small numbers hindered people from seeing this trait of theirs.
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