Freed Pilot Whale: Final Update

Sep 15, 2011 No comments By


The satellite-linked transmitter on the adult pilot whale has failed after 66 days. Powered by a single AA battery, the transmitter was expected to have a 2-3 month life expectancy.

This was one of two pilot whales returned to the sea after about 21 whales stranded in the Florida Keys in early May.

This whale was tracked, moving a total of about 4100 miles (6022 KM). It moved from the Keys north to off of the South Carolina coast, and back down into the Caribbean. The last few weeks were spent off the northeastern coast of Cuba.

The whale made occasional dives to 1,000-1,500 meters, and occasionally stayed down for more than 40 minutes. These are among the deepest and longest documented dives for this species.

This tagging effort and follow-up monitoring was supported by the NOAA Prescott Grants program, and conducted by SDRP Director Dr. Randall Wells.

The satellite-linked transmitters were attached to the whales’ dorsal fins by Randy, at the request of NOAA Fisheries. The maps are provided by the Satellite Tracking and Analysis Tool .


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About the author

Blair Irvine, PhD, is retired and manages the SDRP website, serves as President of the non-profit Dolphin Biology Research Institute, and he volunteers as otherwise needed. He started the SDRP in 1970 with then-high school student Randy Wells. Blair led the research into the late-1970’s when Randy took over. After that, Blair's non-dolphin career was in the area of human behavioral health. With NIH support, much of his research was involved Internet interventions and training programs. His graduate degrees are in Zoology, Exercise Physiology, and Health Education.
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