Previously Unknown Population Of Blue Whales Found Living In Indian Ocean

by : Cameron Frew on : 23 Dec 2020 09:58
Previously Unknown Population Of Blue Whales Found Living In Indian OceanPA Images

Researchers have discovered a previously unknown population of blue whales living in the Indian Ocean.

Reaching up to 98ft in length and weighing up to 400,000lb, blue whales are the biggest animals on the planet. However, despite their titanic size, they’re currently endangered and rather difficult to find.


In 2017, an unrecognised blue whale song was recorded. It wasn’t Dory speaking whale – it led a research team to an undiscovered population of the incredible mammals.

Whales PA Images

Dr Salvatore Cerchio, director of the African Aquatic Conservation Fund’s Cetacean Programme, picked up the unknown vocalisation in the Mozambique Channel off Madagascar.

A blue whale’s vocalisation can be heard by other whales more than 500 miles away, with one of the deepest frequencies of any animal on Earth. Also, every whale population has its own distinct pattern of whale song, long helping people to identify blue whale populations in the Indian Ocean.


Another team of researchers collecting acoustic recordings off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea also picked up the same vocalisation. It became clear the teams had found a previously undiscovered whale population in the western Indian Ocean, roaming from the Arabian Sea, to the Chagos Archipelago in the central Indian Ocean, and even as far south as Madagascar.

Whales PA Images

Dr. Cerchio said, as per the Independent: ‘It was quite remarkable… to find a whale song in your data that was completely unique, never before reported, and recognise it as a blue whale. With all that work on blue whale songs, to think there was a population out there that no one knew about until 2017, well, it kind of blows your mind.’

The team’s findings were first reported to International Whaling Commission in 2018 and recently published in the journal Endangered Species Research.


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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Marine Life, Science, Sealife, whales


  1. Independent

    Previously unknown population of blue whales found living in Indian Ocean