Ever questioned what it will be wish to discover Antarctica with a group of whale consultants? We’ve got. That’s why we’ve partnered with WWF-Australia to run two groundbreaking expeditions to the ends of the earth.
Think about crossing the Antarctic circle with a group of scientists from the World Wildlife Fund – Australia. These consultants are the icing (pun supposed) on the cake with regards to immersing your self in a very Antarctic expertise; they may help you establish whales and wow you with information, all whereas conducting important analysis into these unbelievable giants of the ocean.
We sat down with Chris Johnson, WWF’s World Lead for Defending Dolphins and Whales, to share what you’ll be able to anticipate on this one-in-a-lifetime expedition.
What kind of issues will folks see on this expedition?
Antarctica is epic. It’s the most important wilderness on Earth with over 9,000 marine species – and much more being found every year.
The Antarctic circumpolar present flows clockwise from west to east across the continent and runs parallel north up the Western Peninsula. This implies its icy waters are very productive and abound with wildlife, from humpback whales to penguins and seals, feeding on enormous swarms of their prey – krill. It’s really a sight to behold.
We’ll see a spread of species equivalent to humpback whales, Antarctic minke whales and killer whales. Humpbacks undertake a yearly migration to the Antarctic, which is crucial to feed on krill, relaxation and add the required vitality shops to maintain them for his or her subsequent journey to their tropical breeding grounds. However we may even see different species if we’re fortunate, equivalent to Antarctic blue whales (the most important animal on Earth), sperm whales, southern proper whales and fin whales.
We’ll additionally see a spread of different wildlife equivalent to adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins, all kinds of seabirds and a spread of seals, like leopard, Weddell and crabeater seals.
On the finish of every day, the analysis group will share updates about our discipline work and encounters with whales, doing in-depth TED-style talks and sharing video footage from our drone and tag work.
Inform us a bit concerning the WWF’s whale conservation work in Antarctica.
WWF has been working with companions to preserve whales for over 50 years. Whales are awe-inspiring but difficult to check within the open ocean. Due to this, their distribution and demanding ocean habitats – areas the place they feed, mate, give start, nurse younger, socialise or migrate for his or her survival – are nonetheless being found. That is why we’ve invested in revolutionary strategies to raised perceive the lives of our ocean giants.
New applied sciences are permitting us to check whales and the ocean in new methods. Over current years, WWF has supported fieldwork equivalent to utilizing digital tags and drones to raised perceive how and the place whales feed to uncover their favorite hotspots. It offers us a window into their world to grasp the well being of populations, how they’re affected by local weather change, and the way we would shield their vital ocean habitats worldwide.
Why is whale conservation such necessary work?
Rising proof reveals that whales are important to a wholesome ocean and planet, so we’d like these animals to get well and thrive.
Alongside their migrations, whales fertilise the marine ecosystems they transfer by means of and help the marine life inhabiting them. Their faecal plumes increase phytoplankton manufacturing, which captures about 40 per cent of all carbon dioxide produced and generates over half of the environment’s oxygen. After they die, whales sink to the seabed, taking huge quantities of carbon out of the environment for hundreds of years. Altogether, over its lifetime, one whale captures the identical quantity of carbon as hundreds of bushes.
Which means that by restoring whale populations, we may help restore ocean ecosystems and mitigate and construct resilience to local weather change. It’s serving to nature assist itself, and all of us who depend upon it.
There’s been a variety of discuss these days about whether or not travellers ought to be going to Antarctica in any respect. What are your ideas on that?
Antarctica is the one place on the planet put aside as a reserve for ‘peace and science’. No nation owns it, and we should all work collectively to preserve it.
Collaboration is the spirit of Antarctic science and it’s the best strategy to obtain affect. Throughout WWF, now we have labored with a spread of analysis groups together with College of California Santa Cruz, British Antarctic Survey, Australian Antarctic Division, Duke College and different companions equivalent to tourism operators like Intrepid Journey to assist achieve entry to necessary discipline websites whereas sharing the science in motion with vacationers.
Working with collaborators, we deliver this necessary information to coverage makers to guard 30 per cent of the seas round Antarctica by 2030, creating a security web for wildlife.
Over the past 20 years, I’ve studied and documented whale populations around the globe and the excessive seas. Nonetheless, nothing fairly beats working among the many Antarctic giants whereas surrounded by mountains rising from the ocean and navigating vibrant icebergs of all sizes and shapes alongside the Peninsula. The size of nature right here is overwhelming and inspirational.
Antarctic journey is a chance to share this very particular place with the general public – and it conjures up those that are fortunate sufficient to go to it.
See the good white continent for your self alongside WWF-Australia consultants on Intrepid’s WWF Giants of Antarctica and WWF Journey to the Circle and Giants of Antarctica journeys.