Scientists have noticed, on more than one occasion, groups of humpback whales hanging out with each other.
This may not sound odd, but the groups generally consist of 200 animals. Humpback whales typically hang out in smaller groups.
Ken Findlay, a lead author at South Africa’s Cape Peninsula University of Technology analyzed their behavior and said, according to TIME, that he's “never seen anything like this.” The humpback’s strange behavior has been more noticeable in recent years. Seen around the African coast, groups of 20 to 200 whales can be spotted eating fish.
Their large group is not the only bizarre habit the animal has recently adopted. Normally, whales will live off the coast of Antartica for the summer months. During this past year, they have been spotted living around South Africa all year long.
— Rachel Feltman (@RachelFeltman) March 15, 2017
Findlay made note of the animal’s behaviors. He stated that “no such dense feeding aggregations have been reported elsewhere in low or mild latitudes during Southern Hemisphere humpback whale migrations. Indeed, aggregations of whales of this size have seldom been reported in the literature, with ‘large’ groups often numbering in the range of 10 to 20 or less.”
This news may seem odd or worrisome, but seeing the amount of members in the humpback family is positive. Due to heavy whaling, their population significantly decreased in the 19th and 20th century. Seven of the fourteen humpback whale categories were removed from the “threatened” list. Four categories of whales still remain on the endangered list and continue to receive protection from the Engendered Species Act.
A pod of humpback whales snuck up on these fishermen ? pic.twitter.com/dvwysOztG4
— AJ+ (@ajplus) March 14, 2017
In recent years, the whale population has grown at an impressive rate. For example, last year, it was reported that 11,000 humpback whales breed in the waters of Hawaii. Some of this growth may potentially be due to their “feeding habits and migration patterns.”
Sarah Harley is a Hufflepuff living in the NYC area. When she is not talking to random animals or collecting stickers, she is a comedy writer working in television production. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp