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Decline of the southern right whale – In the News

John Kerr posted in on March 17th, 2016.

New research tracking the rapid decline and slow recovery of New Zealand’s southern right whale population has been widely covered in the media. The study, published this week in the journal Open Science, combined records from historic whaling logbooks and new genetic data to estimate changes in the the whale population over the last two […]

NZ’s whales almost killed off – Expert Reaction

John Kerr posted in on March 17th, 2016.

Relentless whaling decimated New Zealand’s southern right whale population to just a fraction of pre-whaling numbers by the start of last century, finds a new study. An international team of researchers combined historical records from whaling logbooks with modern genetic data to determine that around 30,000 southern right whales swam in New Zealand’s waters before […]

‘Scientific’ whaling needs better scrutiny – Expert reaction

John Kerr posted in on January 21st, 2016.

Scientists are frustrated with the International Whaling Commission over the lack of science in Japan’s scientific whaling programme, and are calling for a new review system.  Japanese whalers are back in the Southern Ocean, aiming to kill 333 minke whales this year – purportedly for scientific purposes. In a correspondence article in this week’s Nature, […]

‘Scientific whaling’ decision – experts respond

John Kerr posted in on September 19th, 2014.

The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has voted in favour of a resolution restricting Japan’s scientific whaling program, but a representative of the country says they will proceed anyway. At a four day meeting in Slovenia, the commission voted in favour of a resolution put forward by New Zealand to impose limits on future scientific whaling […]

Scientists study southern killer whale stranding

John Kerr posted in on February 13th, 2014.

Nine orca have died after becoming stranded on a Southland Beach early Wednesday morning. The Department of Conservation says the stranding, which included one calf, was approximately five per cent of the national population. Their full release is available here. The rare Blue Cliffs beach stranding–near Tuatapere in Southland–is only the third mass beaching of […]

Whale strandings recap

Dacia Herbulock posted in on January 16th, 2014.

Efforts to rescue pilot whales stranded near Farewell Spit in Golden Bay this week failed after the surviving animals repeatedly beached themselves, eventually requiring conservation workers to euthanise them. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of marine mammal stranding in the world, and events like this are frequent occurrences in summer months. This is […]

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Marine mammals mooted at meeting

John Kerr posted in on December 13th, 2013.

The Maui’s dolphin and other endangered marine mammals have been the focus of a huge international conference taking place in Dunedin this week. Marine biologists and conservationist have taken over the town as part of the Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals which this year has the theme, “Marine Mammal Conservation: Science Making a […]

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Whale strandings no family affair – research

John Kerr posted in on March 15th, 2013.

A new study questions the hypothesis that mass whale strandings are the result of family members coming to the aid of their beached kin. Researchers from New Zealand, the US and Australia used genetic data to investigate family links between almost 500 long-finned pilot whales involved in a number of mass strandings in New Zealand […]

‘World’s rarest whale’ found in New Zealand

John Kerr posted in on November 7th, 2012.

DOC workers who spent their New Year’s Eve examining two odd-looking whales stranded on a New Zealand beach can be forgiven for not immediately identifying the species as the incredibility rare spade-toothed beaked whale; it was the first time the species had ever been seen. A study published this week in the journal Current Biology […]

Southern right whale breeding studied

John Kerr posted in on June 27th, 2012.

The first paternity study of southern right whales has found a surprisingly high level of local breeding success for males, scientists say, which is good news for the overall genetic diversity of the species, but could create risk for local populations through in-breeding. Results of the study, by researchers at the University of Auckland, Oregon […]

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