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Species of the Week - Week Two


These are uncertain times.  The Covid 19 pandemic forces many of our IWC community around the world to live and work remotely, away from families, friends and colleagues.  Meetings, including our own Scientific Committee, will not be held in-person but virtually, as far as is possible, and we wait to see if our biennial Commission meeting will go ahead as scheduled in September.

Many observers have spoken of the need to reassess our relationship with our environment post-Covid 19, to ensure the vast global recovery programme that will be needed takes a new approach and considers One Health – human, environmental and economic.  This will be a big challenge. 

In the meantime, the IWC offers a very small challenge – hopefully a fun diversion for you, your children and anyone else sharing these tough times with you.  Each week we will spotlight a cetacean species and ask three questions about that species.  The answers will be found in a link to the IWC’s Whale Watching Handbook, a resource to support sustainable whale watching all over the world. 

As well as testing or extending our knowledge of cetaceans, we hope that this will encourage you to think beyond these current, difficult circumstances and to the future when we can roam freely outside, watch whales, dolphins, porpoises and other wildlife once more, and with newfound appreciation of the variety and value of our environment.

Week Two: the humpback whale - questions

Humpbacks are probably in the spotlight more often than any other cetacean species, known for their spectacular surface breaches and long, complex songs.  Below are three questions about them.  You will find the answers on the Humpback Whale page of the Whale Watching Handbook.

Which population of humpbacks does not perform a seasonal migration?

Humpbacks are famous for their song: is this performed by males or females?

Name two feeding strategies used by humpbacks.

Week One: the blue whale - answers

The answers to last week’s questions on the blue whale, taken from the Blue Whale page of the Whale Watching Handbook:

The heart of a blue whale is the size of a small car.

Like many whale species, blue whales mainly eat krill.

The call of a blue whale is 188 decibels, one of the loudest and lowest sounds produced by any animal.

Next week: the gray whale

Picture competition

Thank you to this week's amazing artists: Max Nunes, Anouk Stanwell-Smith and Edward Page, and to Penelope Tandy for starting off the competition for us last week.

If you would like the chance to see your drawing or photograph of a gray whale posted on the IWC website, please send artwork (landscape format only please) to communications@iwc.int.

Have a good week and stay safe.