Scientists spot rare whale in Bering Sea
Federal researchers studying critically endangered North Pacific right whales sometimes go years without finding their subjects. Over the weekend they got lucky.
A research vessel in the Bering Sea photographed two of the animals Sunday and obtained a biopsy sample from one, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. NOAA Fisheries research biologist Jessica Crance was on board the Yushin Maru 2 when the whales were spotted. The ship is part of the Pacific Ocean Whale and Ecosystem Research program, a collaborative effort headed by the International Whaling Commission.
Using an acoustic recorder, and between sounds of killer whales and walrus, Crance picked up faint calls of a right whale east of Bristol Bay, Alaska. The sounds came from an estimated 16 to 51 kilometres away and the ship headed west, she said in a blog entry.