Photo: Humpback Whale
Once hunted down almost to extinction, the annual visits of massive mammals prompted Chilean Authorities to create a protected coastal area.
It was still the 90’s when the once threatened whales started arriving to Chilean waters in-mass.
The government then created a protected coastal area called “Francisco Coloane”, complete with a marine park, with the intention of making sure the whales would have the nutrients they need to thrive.
“Every whale has a particular pattern on its tail fin that is unique to each individual, and we are able to put together their life stories by following their tails.” Says biologist Jorge Acevedo, a researcher for the Foundation for Quaternary Studies.
Acevedo told reporters that in its youth, the Foundation thought the whales belonged to an Antarctic pod traveling to Ecuador and Colombia, where they reproduce. Further analysis however, revealed that the pod of sardine-eating whales are local, and live in the Carlos III Island area, in Chilean seas between January and April, and then travel to warmer waters near Panama.
In August of last year, Chile’s Biomar foundation and Brazil’s energy company Petrobras signed a treaty aimed to preserve biodiversity, and protect the humpback whale in Chile’s Magallanes Region.