Between 6 and 14 July 2022, researchers from the University of Auckland and Cawthron Institute put satellite tags on southern right whales – tohorā at the Auckland Islands Maungahuka.
The satellite tags are now available to be tracked live on the tohorā voyages website to help scientists learn more about the migratory journeys of these whales.
This year is particularly special for marine scientists studying southern right whales as it signals the start of an international collaboration, with the world’s first circumpolar simultaneous satellite tagging program of any whale species.
Over the coming months, Australian, South African and South American research teams will also be collecting data and sharing it with the other scientists. This will provide critical insight and a global view into the world’s southern right whale populations, with live satellite data available to view from mid-August.
Live Ocean has supported Dr Emma Carroll’s research into the southern right whale in 2020, 2021 and now for a third and final year in 2022. As Aotearoa is a guardian to the planet’s most flourishing right whale population, this information will help inform a global view of how to look after them in the future as the ocean and climate changes.
This year we will be following the journeys of eight more of these amazing ocean voyagers as they head offshore to their summer feeding grounds.
As of August 2022, five of the whales tagged in July had started migrating south and west, and several, including two mums with calves, were still around the Auckland Islands.
TEKAU mĀ WHITU
Tagged on 7 July 2022 and started migrating south soon after.
TEKAU MĀ IWA
Tagged on 8 July 2022 and a few days later started migrating west from the Auckland Islands.
RUA TEKAU MĀ TAHI
Rua tekau mā rua is the first female tohorā the research team have tagged. She was hanging out with other adult whales and her calf when she was tagged on 10 July 2022.
RUA TEKAU MĀ TORU
Rua tekau mā toru was hanging out alone when tagged on 11 July. He then spent two weeks around the Auckland Islands travelling down to Carnley Harbour from Port Ross.