Known as the largest animals on the planet, blue whales congregate off the coast of San Francisco to feed. Right now, they’re congregating in huge numbers.
A record number of blue whales have gathered together.
Known as the largest animals on the planet but also endangered, blue whales feed on abundant krill in the Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary. Researchers have recorded the presence of 47 blue whales within a short distance of the Farallon Islands, and NOAA marine animal experts describe this season as “exceptional” for blue whales.
It was a great year for upwellings, for ocean productivity. But to have 47 blue whales feeding in one area, each one can eat up to 6 tons of tiny shrimp-like krill per day, which is probably a record. Scientists on the island haven’t been able to see their entire feeding group, so 47 is a conservative number,” said Mary Jane Schramm, a spokeswoman for NOAA Greater Farallones.
Ocean giant but hard to see.
It’s not uncommon to see blue whales off the coast of San Francisco. Cetacean watching is even a very popular activity with the organization of cruises specifically for the purpose of contemplating these gigantic marine mammals.
But despite their immense size, which can reach up to 30 metres in length, blue whales can be elusive and difficult to find as they swim hundreds of miles across the oceans. Seeing so many of these gentle giants together at the same time is an exciting experience for researchers and good news for conservationists.