Wildlife and environment
Photographic catalogue of humpback whales compiled in Chukotka

Photographic catalogue of humpback whales compiled in Chukotka

Researchers from the Lomonosov Moscow State University's Faculty of Biology have recently compiled the first ever photographic catalogue of humpback whales living near the shores of Chukotka, the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment stated on its Facebook page.

"The photographic catalogue of humpback whales that can be seen near the Chukotka Peninsula in summer and fall, was compiled by marine mammal experts from the Lomonosov Moscow State University's Faculty of Biology for the first time ever," the post stated. "The catalogue features 74 unique images of humpback whales' flukes. These pictures were taken by experts in August and September, 2017, in the Senyavin Strait within the boundaries of Beringia National Park."

The pictures were taken from a light motorboat with telephoto lenses.

Cetologists say that each whale's fluke or tail is shaped differently with unique patterns on the back side and back edge. Like human fingerprints, these features can be used to identify individual whales.

Photographic catalogues serve as databases that can be used to learn more about the lives of any given whale — to identify their migration routes, their nursing grounds and gathering places.  By taking photos of female whales with their year-old calves, scientists can later learn unique data on the gender and even age of certain whales.