Video. A hundred whales seen in Antarctica, a rare sight

Their numbers have been reduced “to one or two percent of the size of their original population,” Helena Herr, a marine mammal scientist, told AFP.

In particular, whales were killed for the oil contained in their body fat, “an example of the way humanity treats resources […] as long as you can make a profit,” she adds.

“Thrilling”

Footage filmed by a drone shows up to 150 of these whales darting through the water, blowing large plumes of air at the surface, while birds circle in the sky. “The water around us was bubbling, as the animals kept coming up and causing splashing,” says Helena Herr. “It was thrilling, just standing there and watching that. »


Fin whales feed on krill.

SACHA VIQUERAT / AFP

A sign of hope for the second largest animal in the world, after the blue whales, considered according to her as an “ecosystem engineer”.

A population of 100,000 individuals

The whales feed on iron-rich krill and defecate in surface waters, returning nutrients to the ocean that help support the growth of tiny phytoplankton, which use the sun’s rays to turn carbon dioxide into energy and oxygen (photosynthesis).

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has also classified the fin whale in the category of “vulnerable” species and estimates the world population at 100,000 individuals, most of which are found in the northern hemisphere.

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