Pacific right whale was recently registered in the water area of the reserve. Within 22nd an 31st of October the researchers met three different individuals of this rare species.
Pacific right whale is included in the international Red Data Book as critically endangered. The whale is endemic to North Pacific region. According to different estimation today 500 to 900 individuals live on the planet. 17 of them were identified and included in the 2017 photocatalogue of Russia. Four of these 17 were registered in the Commander Islands Reserve in 2012-2013. Now we see the list growing as three more whales of this species acquired their photoidentification number.
The biology of pacific right whales is poorly studied, for example, we do not know for now where their breeding grounds are situated and we know little about their migrations. The animals are thought to live solitary or in small groups, however, all the three individuals seen this year were feeding together with humpback whales in different sized groups. "The previous time we saw a pacific right whale during marine monitoring was in 2013. That time the animals moved in a pair. The interspecies associations, as this year, are unprecedented for us. It looks like the animals figured out a way to increase their hunting effectiveness. Acting in pairs they are more likely to find bigger zooplankton accumulations,” said Evgeny Mamaev, Deputy Director for Science of the Commander Islands Reserve.
The Commander Islands Nature and Biosphere Reserve is the largest marine nature reserve in Russia, which consists of the insular territory and the 30-mile-wide water protected area. The water area is protected from fishing activity and serves as feeding area for 21 species of whales.
The islands are situated on the migration rout of many whales.
During this period of the year, the whales return to the southern seas, where they breed, while the Commander Islands are a place to come back and to gather force for the long journey ahead.