Today’s Solutions: January 17, 2022

Deep in the South Atlantic Ocean lies the island of South Georgia. The waters surrounding the island were once abundant with Antarctic Blue whales, but that all changed when the industrial whaling industry established itself on the island in 1904.

Records show some 42,698 of these blue whales were slaughtered there, and although most of these killings happened before the mid-1930s, the whaling industry continued on there until the early 1970s—more than a decade after blue whales were protected by international law. That the waters around South Georgia fell silent after having once been a hotspot for blue whales is a tragic story, but there is reason for hope.

This year, a research expedition conducted by an international team resulted in 58 blue whale sightings and numerous acoustic detections. That is particularly good news considering that between 1998 and 2018, only a single blue whale was sighted in the waters surrounding South Georgia. The sudden uptick in sightings raises hopes that the critically endangered mammal, which is the largest and loudest animal on the planet, is finally recovering five decades after whaling was banned.

“We don’t quite know why it has taken the blue whales so long to come back,” said Susannah Calderan, of the Scottish Association for Marine Science and the lead author of a study in the journal Endangered Species Research. “It may be that so many of them were killed at South Georgia that there was a loss of cultural memory in the population that the area was a foraging ground, and that it is only now being rediscovered.”

Blue whales aren’t the only marine animals that are showing signs of a comeback in the region. Since 2013, scientists have regularly reported seeing large groups of humpback whales in South Georgia waters, confirming their return to this historical center of whaling.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Science Moms are on a mission to spread science-based climate optimism

When we feel overwhelmed and hopeless, many of us turn to our mothers or the mother figures we have in our lives for comfort and encouragement. As adults the challenges we face are much bigger ... Read More

Study: laughter is common among more than 65 species of animals

While laughter may seem like a trait exclusive to human behavior, nothing could be further from the truth. That’s at least according to a recent study which has found that the phenomenon of laughter is ... Read More

An EMADE autonomous drone helps save the life of cardiac arrest patient

Last month in Sweden, an elderly man experienced a cardiac arrest while shoveling snow. Today, this man is still alive thanks in large part to Everdrone’s Emergency Medical Aerial Delivery  (EMADE) service, a dispatch service ... Read More

Maya Angelou becomes first Black woman featured on a US coin

Earlier last week, US quarters with the image of poet and writer Maya Angelou went into circulation, making her the first Black woman in the nation’s history to be featured on a coin. Angelou’s quarter ... Read More

‘Strange metal’ may be the future for a more energy efficient world

Strange metal behavior was first noticed around 30 years ago. These materials are composed of copper-oxides and carry the properties of being high-temperature superconductors. This means they can transfer electricity very efficiently, withstanding much higher ... Read More

Key ingredient in cat litter could help reduce methane emissions

In recent years, carbon capture technologies have started playing an increasingly important role in our global quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. Now, researchers at MIT have started working on solving another ... Read More