Taken from the newsletter Portrait de baleines, August 30, 2012
Last August 20, about two kilometres off the coast of Cap Granite, while the GREMM-DFO team was attentively monitoring the movements of the humpback whale Irisept (Cocotte) after fitting her with a telemetry tag, two other humpbacks and at least three blue whales were spotted nearby. Among them: female blue whale B197.
In 2006, B197 was also the focus of : telemetric monitoring jointly conducted by these same research teams. This monitoring allowed her dive profiles to be documented over a 24-hour period. Over the course of the first day, she alternated deep dives (80 to 100 m) and shallow dives (20 to 40 m), with or without feeding. In the evening, her dives were even less deep (5 to 30 m). During the night, B197 fed essentially at the surface, and in the early morning, deeper and deeper dives were recorded, stabilizing at 80 to 100 m until the telemetry tag fell off.
What was she eating? Probably her favourite prey: krill. Every mouthful counts for this fragile titan, considered to be endangered. In order to afford this species peace and respect in the Marine Park, a 400 m buffer must be maintained during boat-based observations. Members of the Eco-Whale Alliance have even committed to complying with this distance beyond park boundaries.
In the Marine Park this summer: B137 (Chaparal) and B227 (Eperon) were also identified, namely thanks to the constellation of blue and gray spots that cover their bodies. These two individuals are registered in the MICS-managed blue whale catalogue, which includes over 420 individuals identified to date.