GREENPEACE WHALE EXPEDITION TEAM OBTAINS RARE HUMPBACK AUDIO RECORDINGS IN ANTARCTICA
SOUTHERN OCEAN– An international team aboard the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, currently searching for the Japanese whaling fleet in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary near Antarctica, today released a
rare series of audio recordings of humpback whales. The recordings are a significant contribution to the global scientific knowledge base on whales, taken without harming the whales, in contrast with the senseless hunt currently being undertaken by the Japanese government under the false guise of scientific research.
“We were surrounded by more than 50 feeding humpbacks,” said Greenpeace scientist Leandra Goncalves, currently onboard the Esperanza. “This provided us with an amazing opportunity to record the vocalizations of whales as they fed. Very little is known about whale behavior in the Southern Ocean. This data, in addition to that already gathered earlier this year during Greenpeace’s Great Whale Trail tagging project, will give us a greater understanding of the behavior and communications of humpback whales.”
“In stark contrast to the non-lethal research that we and other legitimate researchers have been carrying out, the Japanese Fisheries Agency’s Research Program has determined practically nothing of scientific value,” said Greenpeace Japan whales campaigner Sakyo Noda, also onboard the Esperanza. “While Japan’s
whaling fleet has given the humpbacks mercy this year, it still plans to needlessly slaughter nearly 1,000 whales, including 50 endangered fin whales.”
Greenpeace is collaborating with a team of scientists on the “Great Whale Trail” project, collecting data from satellite tagging of whales, harmless skin biopsies and tail identification. The project has yielded valuable information about the migration patterns of threatened humpback populations. Greenpeace is also collaborating with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) during the expedition, with a research program gathering data on populations and identities of whales, particularly humpbacks. Greenpeace will
make available to IFAW footage of Japanese whale hunting in order for the organization to further research the killing methods and durations of the Japanese whaling fleet. The Esperanza is also carrying a fixed camera recording ice patterns in the Southern Ocean, as part of an International Polar Year project.
The Esperanza will continue its whale research program en route to finding and stopping the Japanese whaling fleet, demonstrating that scientific results can be achieved without killing hundreds of whales. This is Greenpeace’s ninth expedition to the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.