Whale Photo-Identification

The photo-identification of whales has been a benign (non harmful) field technique for about 35 years. It is based on the fact that individual whales have natural and acquired markings that do not change over time. These markings may be genetic, or caused by parasites, predators, fights or collisions with nets and ships. These markings have become an ideal way to study population size, migration paths and pod dynamics.

As we gather more pictures over the years and share the data, a greater understanding of these magnificent creatures will evolve. In the case of the Humpbacks a specific region of the body needs to be photographed. The underside of the flukes (tail) of a Humpback carry the signature of that whale.

Getting a "good ID" requires patience, sensitivity and a good camera. There is a period of about 1.5 seconds that a Humpback tail is displayed in such a position as to provide a good shot.

I will be starting a catalogue on this site of those whales I have photographed. I intend to add to it as each season is completed. If you would like to share pictures to augment my/your/our research, please use them without hesitation. I will trust that your interest is like mine... more knowledge.


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