Wednesday, 12 May 2021 05:16 GMT

Oman- Arabian Sea humpback whale makes first recorded transoceanic crossing

(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Muscat- 'Luban', an Arabian Sea humpback whale tagged in the Gulf of Masirah last month, has made the first recorded transoceanic crossing across the Arabian Sea.

Luban is one of 14 whales that have been tagged by the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) under the Renaissance Whale and Dolphin Project, and the first tagged female, stated a press release.

Dedicated studies in Oman since 2000 have established that humpback whales found off the sultanate are the only population of humpback whales in the world that do not make an annual migration between tropical and polar regions.

ESO started deploying satellites on the endangered species in 2014 to monitor the movements of this isolated population, to understand their movements given that no other lines of scientific investigation had linked animals observed off Oman with those sighted elsewhere in the Arabian Sea, including, Iran, Pakistan and India.

Until last week all of the tracks generated by the satellite tagging project only showed the whales moving along the southern coastline of Oman. However, Luban, tagged in the Gulf of Masirah this November started heading east across the Indian Ocean and appeared on the Indian coast on December 21.

Andrew Willson from Five Oceans Environmental Services in Muscat said, 'The implications of this first transoceanic crossing reported by the tag represents a significant breakthrough for regional scientists have been challenged to understand if the humpback whales observed in the Arabian sea are connected – or reside in their own discrete areas.'

Willson added, 'The population observed from studies off Oman since 2000 is thought to number less than 100 animals and resulted in their endangered population status under the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list process. The fact that one female has now moved outside Omani waters during the known breeding season now makes this theory concerning connectively across the region more likely and a first step towards considering humpbacks in the region as a single population unit.'

The whale arrived off Goa after a journey of over 1,500km. Over the last few days it has been heading steadily south at 5kmph.


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