Ever puzzled what it might be wish to discover Antarctica with a workforce of whale specialists? Now we have. 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 workforce of scientists from the World Wildlife Fund – Australia. These specialists are the icing (pun supposed) on the cake on the subject of immersing your self in a really Antarctic expertise; they might help you establish whales and wow you with info, all whereas conducting very important analysis into these unimaginable giants of the ocean.
We sat down with Chris Johnson, WWF’s International Lead for Defending Dolphins and Whales, to share what you may 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 large swarms of their prey – krill. It’s really a sight to behold.
We’ll see a variety of species corresponding 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 power 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, corresponding to Antarctic blue whales (the most important animal on Earth), sperm whales, southern proper whales and fin whales.
We’ll additionally see a variety of different wildlife corresponding to adélie, gentoo and chinstrap penguins, all kinds of seabirds and a variety of seals, like leopard, Weddell and crabeater seals.
On the finish of every day, the analysis workforce 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 beginning, nurse younger, socialise or migrate for his or her survival – are nonetheless being found. Because of this 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 latest years, WWF has supported fieldwork corresponding to utilizing digital tags and drones to raised perceive how and the place whales feed to uncover their favorite hotspots. It provides 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 essential ocean habitats worldwide.
Why is whale conservation such necessary work?
Rising proof exhibits that whales are important to a wholesome ocean and planet, so we’d like these animals to recuperate 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. Once 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 timber.
Because of this by restoring whale populations, we might 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 loads of speak recently 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 simplest strategy to obtain affect. Throughout WWF, we’ve got labored with a variety of analysis groups together with College of California Santa Cruz, British Antarctic Survey, Australian Antarctic Division, Duke College and different companions corresponding to tourism operators like Intrepid Journey to assist acquire 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.
During the last 20 years, I’ve studied and documented whale populations world wide and the excessive seas. Nevertheless, nothing fairly beats working among the many Antarctic giants whereas surrounded by mountains rising from the ocean and navigating vibrant icebergs of all styles and sizes alongside the Peninsula. The dimensions 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 evokes those that are fortunate sufficient to go to it.
See the nice white continent for your self alongside WWF-Australia specialists on Intrepid’s WWF Giants of Antarctica and WWF Journey to the Circle and Giants of Antarctica journeys.