Growing up to 55 feet in length and weighing up to 60 tons, the southern right whale is the most abundant species of the world’s three species of right whale. Unlike the North Atlantic and North Pacific right whales (both Endangered), southern rights have managed to rebound from centuries of commercial whaling. Of the estimated total population of southern right whales found throughout the entire Southern Hemisphere, around one third use the protected bays of Península Valdés as a breeding and calving habitat between the months of June and December.
Significant mortality among newborn southern right whales has been recorded in Península Valdés in recent years due to causes that are not yet entirely understood. Adult mortality in the area is also recorded. While the species has been known to science for a long time, we still do not know some basic facts about them, such as the precise location of feeding grounds or their migratory behavior, which impedes a full picture into their overall status.
We conduct targeted research using cutting edge technology and the latest science to uncover the animals’ family relationships, the location of feeding grounds and migration patterns to throw light into some of the main causes of adult and calf mortality. We also work with the government to promote the creation of protected areas that consider the species critical habitats along the coasts and off shore. Finally, we collaborate with the whale watching community in Patagonia to support their use of best practices with the species.