Scientists Study Song of Pilot Whales in Iceland Skip to content

Scientists Study Song of Pilot Whales in Iceland

The crew of the research vessel Song of the Whale followed the school of more than 200 pilot whales out of Faxaflói Bay yesterday evening, recording their sounds. They will be compared to sounds in a database to try and better understand the behavior of pilot whales.

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Archive photo by Páll Stefánsson.

“It is useful for our studies,” Sigursteinn Másson, representative of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which operates the vessel, told Morgunblaðið.

Song of the Whale was by coincidence docked at Reykjavík harbor when the news of a school of pilot whales heading towards land at Leyni in Akranes, West Iceland, was reported yesterday morning.

It is believed to be the same school as the one which ran into trouble at Innri-Njarðvík in the southwest last weekend. In both instances the whales were steered away from land to keep them from beaching.

In Akranes, small fishing boats and the whale watching boat Rósin were used for that purpose. Song of the Whale found the pilot whales 2.5 miles southwest of Akranes and followed them for three hours as they kept heading out of the bay.

Schools of pilot whales head to shore in Iceland every ten years or so but it is not known what causes this behavior.

“The most important thing is that it is now becoming evident that in spite of this behavior and the whales being confused, they can be saved from grave danger with the right measures. I believe scientists at home and abroad will take notice,” Sigursteinn said.

Click here to read more about the whales and watch a video shot in Innri-Njarðvík.

ESA

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