During the past summer, a team of researchers, including biologists and Canadian Coast Guard members, reported the observation of endangered sei whales for the first time in decades in Canadian water.
“This was very exciting because we didn’t expect it. People on my team had never seen them,” explained Thomas Doniol-Valcroze, a scientist at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
The sei whale is one of the fastest whales in the world and is part of the same family as fin and blue whales. However, the researchers consider sei whale as an endangered species, so observing a living, healthy specimen means a lot for the scientific community.
Also, from the more than 60,000 sei whales across North Pacific, the marine creature’s populations dropped significantly and, since the 1970s, no sei whale was observed in Canadian water.
Endangered Sei Whales Observed For The First Time In Decades in Canadian Waters
“Sei whales are so rare nobody is actually completely sure what they sound like here in the Northeast Pacific,” said Doniol-Valcroze, one of the scientists on the Coast Guard ship that searched for whales in late-July.
“Sei whales are so rare nobody is actually completely sure what they sound like here in the Northeast Pacific. We started hearing those sounds that sounded very similar to what sei whales were recorded doing elsewhere. We started hearing them more and more, and that led us to find them and see them for the first time many years,” Doniol-Valcroze added.
The scientists spotted five sei whales swimming in the middle of a group of fin whales. That was the most important day of the 10-week research aimed to estimate the populations of all the marine mammals in Canada’s Pacific. However, even though they observed five endangered sei whales for the first time in decades in Canadian waters, the scientists couldn’t estimate their total number in Canada’s part of the Pacific ocean.