Antarctic Guide Blog

12 Top Tips for Travel to Ushuaia and Antarctica

1. Buenos Aires has two airports: Ezeiza or EZE (sometimes called Pistarini) is the international and lies over 30 km from the city centre. Jorge Newberry Airport, AEP or Aeroparque is only seven km from the city and is used for most (but not all) domestic flights. If you are transferring between airports it’s a 40 km ride and can take well over an hour if there’s traffic.

2. Immigration procedures for foreigners coming into Argentina can be slow and you can be in line for up to an hour. Don’t arrange tight connecting flights.

3. There’s no charge for Argentinean tourist visas. But if you are Australian, Canadian or a US citizen, you’ll be charged a “reciprocity fee” closely equivalent to what those countries charge Argentineans. The fees and rules change frequently but last year it cost $US75 for Canadians for a single entry, $US100 for a year of entries for Australians and $US160 for 10 years for Americans. The fees generally aren’t charged if you arrive overland (though Chile has similar fees) or into airports outside BA.

4. It’s most convenient to arrange transfers from the airport to your hotel in advance. There are competing agencies at the airport that will book you a car. It’s suggested that both ways you should book through the hotel or the airport office as the many touts may offer unlicensed taxis with significant risks.

5. When exploring BA just carry some cash, a driver’s licence and a credit card rather than a wallet. If something is squirted on your shoes or you are jostled in a crowd, hang onto your valuables and don’t stop.

6. With prevailing westerlies a seat on the right hand (starboard) side of the plane will probably give you the best first views of Ushuaia.

7. You need your baggage tags to exit security in Ushuaia (USH). The airport is about six km from the town

8. There are often changes to the times of flights within Argentina so don’t be surprised if this happens to you. And flights to and from USH are very heavily booked over summer. So are the hotels.

9. If you are using your home mobile phone in Argentina, good luck sorting out the number to call, with and without area codes. And expect to pay the highest roaming rates to both send and receive.

10. The great majority of shops and restaurants in Ushuaia are on San Martin that is a one-way street towards the east.

11. Make sure your Antarctic cruise company knows where you are staying in Ushuaia so they can contact you if the ship is delayed or boarding procedures are changed. (It’s a very good idea to arrive in Ushuaia at least the day before you sail.) Have a local contact number for its Ushuaia agent, too, so you can contact them if you have queries or difficulties.

12. Your ship will have docked that morning, discharged passengers and will be frantically cleaned and provisioned over the few hours of port day. The dock is closed anyway (by port security) and few crew members will have a moment spare if you do arrive on board before the scheduled afternoon boarding time.

About the author: David McGonigal has been to Antarctica over 100 times as Expedition Leader, expert lecturer and expedition photographer. He left Antarctica last February and will be back there again this November.

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Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova found

Scott of the Antarctic’s Wreck Found

Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova wreck found off Greenland

From: AAP

August 17, 2012

A member of Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s doomed crew looks out over Antarctica from the SS Terra Nova in 1912

THE SS Terra Nova, the ship that took Captain Robert Falcon Scott and his team on their ill-fated expedition to the Antarctic a century ago, has been found on the seabed off Greenland.

The famous polar exploration vessel was known to have sunk off the coast of Greenland in September 1943 after being damaged by ice.

The Schmidt Ocean Institute, a research organisation, said it towed cameras across the top of a target area which revealed remains of a wooden wreck lying on the seabed.

The camera footage also identified the funnel of the vessel next to the wreck.

“The team compared the funnel image with historical photographs of the SS Terra Nova. All observations jointly identified this wreck as the sunken SS Terra Nova,” the company said in a statement.

Captain Scott and his team arrived at South Pole in January 1912, only to find a Norwegian party led by Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. Scott and his team died on the return trek.

Read more at BBC


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First Sunrise at Concordia Station, Antarctica After Three Months of Darkness

This photo shows the first sunrise at Concordia Station in Antarctica, breaking over 3 months of complete darkness. The photo was taken from roof of Concordia Station by British medical doctor Alexander Kumar. More information:
You can also read blogs from Concordia station at ESA’s Chronicles from Concordia.

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Australia to pay for US scientist’s Antarctic evacuation

Australia to pay for Antarctic scientist’s evacuation

Andrew Darby

Australia is to foot the bill for its Antarctic winter rescue flight of an ailing US expeditioner, confident it will be able to call for the same help.

The federal government’s Antarctic Division director, Tony Fleming, said the costs were yet to be calculated for the emergency operation.

It took the government’s chartered Airbus A319 off an asylum seeker run to Christmas Island to pick up a Hobart-based medical team, retrieve the man from the US McMurdo station, and fly him to Christchurch, New Zealand.

“We collaborate with other nations in Antarctica,” Mr Fleming said. “We expect and receive emergency assistance. We’ll take the costs of this emergency.”


The US National Science Foundation said that, with no US assets available at the time, the Australian aircraft had been vital for the evacuation, as was Royal New Zealand Air Force search and rescue cover.

“This is an excellent example of the benefits of long-standing co-operation with our Antarctic partners,” said Kelly Falkner, the National Science Foundation’s acting director of polar programs.

The aircraft returned to Hobart today after what Mr Fleming said was a textbook operation.

Pilot Garry Studd said the flight was among the earliest ever conducted by a wheeled aircraft in the polar season.

When the plane touched down in midday twilight yesterday, the weather was calm with a temperature of -33 degrees Celsius at the Pegasus ice runway carved into the ice shelf near McMurdo, he said.

The male patient, whose identity and condition has not been released, was taken aboard and the aircraft left after about an hour on the ground.

“I understand the expeditioner was extremely happy,” Mr Studd said.

Read more:

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Breaking News: Plancius stuck at South Georgia

Plancius Polar Exploration Ship stuck at South Georgia

April 13th 2012

SOME 70 tourists are stranded on board a Dutch polar exploration ship at South Georgia Island in the southern Atlantic after the ship experienced a partial engine failure, its owner said today.

The Plancius was lying under anchor off a pier in a bay outside South Georgia’s small port of Grytviken – a former whaling station and now a popular stop-off spot for cruise ships visiting Antarctica, Mark van der Hulst said.

“The ship is anchored off a pier in South Georgia after suffering partial loss of her engine. She is safe and sound and there is no danger for passengers,” he said.

“She is waiting for another passenger ship to pick them up and bring them to Montevideo, from where they will be flown home.”

The 291-foot (89-meter) Plancius was then expected to make her way under her own steam to Montevideo for an inspection, Van der Hulst said.

Dutch tour operator Inezia, which organizes the Atlantic Odyssey tours mainly as a bird-watching expedition, said the ship experienced engine trouble Tuesday afternoon.

“It had visited Antarctica and was on its way through the Atlantic to the Cape Verdean islands,” Inezia’s owner Pieter van der Luit said.

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Falkland Islanders oppose Argentinian flight plan

Falkland Islanders Oppose Argentina Flight Plan

By Jonathan Gilbert, Buenos Aires
7:00AM GMT 20 Mar 2012

Falkland Islanders are opposing a proposal made by Cristina Kirchner, the Argentine president, which would link the archipelago to Argentina via three weekly flights from Buenos Aires.
The legislative assembly of the Falklands will ask the UK to avoid entering into negotiations with Ms Kirchner’s government over the issue, reports Argentine newspaper *El Cronista*.
“Under no circumstances will we allow our contact with the outside world to be controlled by Argentina,” a member of the assembly said. “And much less by an airline that flies the Argentine flag.” The only current commercial flight to the Falklands is managed by LAN, a Chilean airline, which runs a twice-weekly service from Punta Arenas, in Chilean Patagonia, to the RAF base at Mount Pleasant.
Ms Kirchner announced the proposal, which has still not been made official, at the opening of Congress two weeks ago.
She wants Argentine Airlines to run the flights from Buenos Aires to Mount Pleasant, but should they be inaugurated it is believed Islanders fear the Argentine government would attempt an economic blockade by calling on LAN to cease its service.
The news comes as tensions rise between the UK and Argentina just two weeks before the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.
Héctor Timerman, the Argentine foreign minister who has accused the UK of militarising the South Atlantic at the UN, announced last week that Argentina will take legal action against companies involved in drilling for oil around the Falklands.
Meanwhile, Peru yesterday said it will allow HMS Montrose to dock at one of its ports.
Montrose was controversially replaced in waters surrounding the Falklands by HMS Dauntless. The warship will arrive at El Callao port on Thursday for four days.
The decision to allow Montrose and 186 crew to dock on South American soil may irk Ms Kirchner, who has so far managed to unite her neighbours behind the Argentine sovereignty claim.
Last week Chilean president Sebastián Piñera met with Ms Kirchner and reaffirmed his government’s solidarity with Argentina over the Falklands.
The Union of South American Nations also gave Argentina its “full backing” at the weekend, while Chile, Venezuela and the Mercosur trade-bloc all signed up to an agreement that prevents ships flying the Falklands flag from docking at their ports.

More at

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Arctic shipping and native hunters

Arctic Shipping and Native Hunters

As Arctic shipping grows, Native hunters aim to protect marine mammals
Alex DeMarban | Mar 14, 2012

Alaska Native subsistence hunters hoping to protect whales, polar bears and other marine mammals have joined forces to offer input on proposed shipping rules being developed for the nation’s Arctic frontier.

Representatives from groups including the Alaska Eskimo Whaling Commission, the Inuit Circumpolar Council, and the Ice Seal Committee formed a coalition on Tuesday to present a unified voice recommending rules and more infrastructure in the barely regulated Arctic Ocean, officials said.

The unprecedented effort comes amid a rise in the number of boats steaming through the Bering Strait, a trend expected to grow as the increasingly ice-free waters expand shipping opportunities and Shell prepares to explore the region for oil.

Major proposals the group hopes to influence include a U.S. Coast Guard effort to create international shipping lanes through the strait and anInternational Polar Code that could set broad rules for maritime travel through the fragile Arctic.

Main food source
The still-unnamed coalition will focus on ensuring food security for dozens of villages that depend on marine mammals and fish, said Jimmy Stotts, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council of Alaska. Protecting those animals means protecting Native culture and traditions, such as families hunting together or making skin boats for whale hunts.

“A high percent of daily food in the Inuit society comes from hunting and gathering, higher than people realize,” said Stotts, who is originally from Barrow.

The new coalition also includes the Eskimo Walrus Commission, theAlaska Nanuuq Commission that protects polar bears and regional tribal groups such as the Association of Village Council Presidents based in Bethel’s largely Yup’ik region.

Some large organizations, such as the North Slope Borough, have offered ideas, Stotts said. But generally, voices of Native hunters have not been heard.

Representatives with the group convened in Anchorage early this week to begin making plans. U.S. Coast Guard presenters at the meeting said themulti-year effort to create shipping lanes has run into one significant obstacle — finding the proper Russian authorities to meet with.

The number of vessels crossing the strait — 53 miles wide at its narrowest point — has doubled in recent years. Some 400 trips were recorded in 2011, with bigger vessels often sailing down the Russian coast and smaller tugs and barges — often with supplies for Alaska Native villages — traveling along the busier U.S. side.

The area could get busier soon. Shell plans to bring 33 ships north to begin exploratory drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas this summer, meaning scores more trips as those vessels and support boats steam back and forth.

That’s a concern for coastal villages. Ten communities across Alaska’s Arctic hunt bowhead whales. Nearly three dozen hunt walrus. Many more rely on seals and fish.

Rising bowhead whale population
More boat traffic means more ecological risk for the Arctic, where animals and ships can be squeezed together in limited areas such as “leads,” natural lanes formed amid thick sea ice. Shoreside gatherings of marine mammals are also vulnerable. Among those areas is a new summer walrus haulout near the village of Point Lay, said Craig George, a biologist with the North Slope Borough’s wildlife management department.

Chief concerns for all animals include toxic spills and increased boat strikes. Industrial noise might also mask whale communication or stress bowhead and beluga whales, as a study of right whales has found, he said. Bowheads are easily frightened when they’re on the move. “If they’re migrating, they’re extremely shy,” George said. “Ask any hunter. One knock of an oar with a skin boat and boom, they’re gone.”

Bowhead numbers have risen over the years, with estimates putting the population above 13,000. Hunters want to keep it that way, said George.

Any effort needs approval from the International Maritime Organization (IMO). And without Russian participation, the IMO likely will reject any scheme for the Bering Strait as insufficient, said U.S. Coast Gard Capt. Adam Shaw. In that case, regulations wouldn’t apply to Russian’s side of the strait, and that would limit protections for whales and other animals, which ignore international boundaries.

Shaw said the Coast Guard is making progress on the study, assembling recommendations from the public into a draft report that should be available for another round of public input late this year. Then the Coast Guard plans to travel to numerous villages with the preliminary report, Shaw said.

“We’re coming back to you and saying, ‘This is what we heard, this is what we think. Are we correct?’ ” Shaw said.

Where are the Russians?
Coast Guard Cmdr. James Houck said things are moving ahead except for one snag: Finding someone in the Russian Ministry of Transport to work with has taken “far longer” than expected. Houck said Russia will eventually be at the planning table, but he hopes it doesn’t take a huge accident for that to happen.

“I have no doubt that we will be able to reach agreement if we are able to find a point of contact within the Russian government where we can interact,” he said. “Either we haven’t made the right people aware of our needs, or they’re so busy they haven’t made time for that person to work with us yet.”

One big fear is a spill in Russia that spreads to U.S. waters, especially if a large tanker with lots of oil runs aground. So it’s important to increase oversight of shipping along the Russian coast as well, said Martin Robards, with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which helped organize the meeting.

Shaw, with the Coast Guard, told Native hunters not to expect a navigation center on Little Diomede soon. Many people have suggested such a facility — picture an air-traffic control center for boats — on the U.S. island halfway across the strait to Russia.

But the strait’s ship traffic doesn’t warrant such a large investment right now. It’s rising but still small compared to other areas. For example, one day of traffic in the Port of San Francisco is equal to a year of traffic in the Bering Strait.

Instead, additional monitoring and tracking can be accomplished by installing such hardware as radio repeaters and transmitters to improve communication with ships, as well as enhanced tracking by satellites, he said.

As for the International Polar Code, a professor of Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska Fairbanks told the groups that Canada and Russia have set some standards for ships traveling through the Arctic. But the U.S. has no such requirements, said Lawson Brigham.

The International Maritime Organization is working on the code, though the effort is behind schedule. It could set guidelines on everything from ice-navigator training to special safety gear to proper ship design.

Stotts, with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, said it’s too early to know what the coalition will recommend. But the discussion that will play out over the coming months could present new ideas and address existing ones, such as building the Arctic’s first deepwater port and establishing a communication system requiring oceangoing vessels to notify nearby villages of their plans.

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Norway wants Amundsen’s ship back


Norway Wants Arctic Explorer Amundsen’s Ship Back


OTTAWA — A hearing Thursday in Canada could determine the fate of plans to repatriate Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s three-mast ship Maud from the Arctic.
A Norwegian group has asked the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board to revisit a decision in December denying an export permit for the ship, after residents of Cambridge Bay, Canada opposed losing a treasured artifact that has become a tourist attraction in the far north.
The remains of the ship that once belonged to the Norwegian explorer sit at the bottom of Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, but its hulk is partly visible above the frigid waters that preserved it for decades.
“We understand that the whole hearing will be focused on the importance of Maud to Canada as a historical vessel,” Jan Wanggaard, manager of the effort to bring the Maud to Norway, told AFP.
In 1906 Amundsen became the first European to sail through the Northwest Passage searching for a shorter shipping route from Europe to Asia, something explorers had been trying to find for centuries.
In 1911 he became the first person to reach the South Pole. His attempts to reach the North Pole however failed.
Amundsen again sailed through the Northeast Passage with the Maud — built in Asker, Norway and named after Norway’s Queen Maud — in 1918-20, but was unable to get far enough north to launch a North Pole expedition. Amundsen tried, and failed, one more time from the Bering Strait in 1920-21.
The Maud, built in Asker, Norway, was sold to Hudson’s Bay Company in 1925 and rechristened the Baymaud. It ended its days as a floating warehouse and the region’s first radio station before sinking at its moorings in 1930.
In 1990 Asker Council in Norway bought the wreck for just $1 and obtained an export permit from Canada. The permit however has expired.
An expert appointed by Canada’s heritage minister found that the ship is of national importance to Canada, and that its removal from Canadian waters should be delayed by six months to allow a Canadian group to buy her.
Wanggaard said his group opposes further delays.
They had hoped to obtain an export permit to return the shipwreck to Norway at mid-year so it could be the centerpiece of a new museum, but the Canadian review process has delayed that to at least 2013.
Wanggaard said the Canadian expert also recommended an archeological survey before the vessel is moved, a move the Norwegian group opposes.
“We don’t see any value in a classical excavation because the ship sunk, we have a very good record of the history of how it sunk … and we know the ship was completely stripped in the first years after it sunk,” Wanggaard said.
“So we don’t think it is (necessary) to go through an archeological study.”
Amundsen vanished in June 1928 while flying on a rescue mission with five other people aboard. The plane apparently crashed in heavy fog in the Barents Sea, and his body was never found.

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South Georgia’s rat eradication

South Georgia Rat Eradication

Rats on the run: plans for largest massacre ever

By Clive Cookson
The eradication campaign aims to restore the population of South Georgia’s ground-nesting birds

The largest rodent eradication campaign in history is set to poison millions of rats on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Scientists say the mammalian massacre – planned for 2013 and 2014 – will restore starkly beautiful South Georgia to the position it once held as the world’s most important nesting site for seabirds.

Although South Georgia’s birds are still spectacular in the breeding season, they are a shadow of the avian extravaganza that was there before seafarers in the late 18th century inadvertently introduced rats to what had been a pristine environment. The island’s ground-nesting birds have not evolved to cope with the voracious appetite of alien rodents for their eggs and chicks.
“If we can eradicate the rats, the consensus among people who know about seabirds is that at least 100 million of them will reclaim their ancestral home on South Georgia,” says Tony Martin, a biology professor at Dundee University who is on secondment to lead the project. “Then it will again have the greatest concentration of birds on the planet.”
South Georgia is the latest – and by far the largest – island to be tackled by a growing ecological movement to get rid of animals that play havoc with native wildlife after being introduced deliberately or accidentally by people. An estimated two-thirds of all birds and reptiles that have gone extinct through human activity lived on islands (which account for 5 per cent of Earth’s landmass). Though rats and mice have done the most damage, cats, foxes, ferrets, weasels, pigs, goats, deer, rabbits and other alien species have been targeted in eradication campaigns around the world.

At 800 sq km, South Georgia is seven times the size of New Zealand’s Campbell Island, currently the largest area ever cleared of rodents. The successful blitz on Campbell Island rats in 2001, carried out with 132 tonnes of poison dropped from five helicopters, has led to a renaissance of native species. Seabirds are returning, and duck and snipe have been rescued from the brink of extinction. “New Zealand pioneered the techniques for ridding islands of rats – and in essence our operation on South Georgia is New Zealand technology writ large,” says Martin. “Some New Zealanders will be helping our campaign, including our chief pilot Peter Garden who was also chief pilot for the eradication projects at Campbell Island and Rat Island [in the Aleutian chain of the north Pacific]. Peter was set to retire but could not resist tackling South Georgia.”
In fact the South Georgia project has already had a successful trial run. In March 2011, helicopters dropped 55 tonnes of the rat poison brodifacoum over an area of 132 sq km that is isolated from the rest of the island by glaciers.

A year later, intense monitoring shows no signs of rats or their droppings in the treated area, though the team cannot be sure yet that none have survived the mass poisoning. “It is very hard to prove a negative but we are pretty confident that there are no rats left,” says Martin. “Just as important, we are already seeing signs of recovery among the birds.” The threatened South Georgia pintail, a duck found nowhere else on Earth, has produced more ducklings in the area than at any time in living memory.
Phases two and three in 2013 and 2014 respectively will involve dropping as much as 300 tonnes of brodifacoum from the air on to every part of the island where rats might conceivably live. It is a heroic operation, carried out during the stormy southern autumn when the rats are hungry and the risks of inadvertently poisoning native wildlife are less than in the more clement spring and summer months. “Ideally we’d do it in winter but the weather makes that too risky,” Martin says.

Collateral damage to other species is a big issue in rat eradication campaigns. Although most ecologists regard the removal of introduced rodents from the eponymous Rat Island in the Aleutians in 2008 as a huge long-term gain for the native birds, the unexpected poisoning of 43 bald eagles was a short-term public relations setback.
Brodifacoum is wrapped in bait pellets so attractive to rodents that rats will eat them in preference to their natural food. The poison is an anticoagulant that kills rodents through internal bleeding and organ failure.

As the rats succumb to the chemical, they become photophobic (scared of light) and retreat to die in their burrows. This makes them less likely to harm any other creatures that eat the dead or dying rats. Most carnivorous birds on South Georgia eat only marine prey – the island has no raptors such as eagles or hawks and no native land mammals, reptiles or amphibians – and experts believe the native birds are unlikely to be tempted to eat the bait directly.

However, the team recognised that there might be some casualties among avian scavengers such as skuas, gulls and giant petrels. Some brown skuas did indeed die in the weeks following the first phase of rat poisoning last year but the species recovered completely when more birds returned to breed six months later.
A complication of the South Georgia campaign is that the resident reindeer – introduced early in the 20th century to provide food for Norwegian whalers – must be removed before rat eradication moves into its main phases. Otherwise the deer will eat the bait. Botanists are also keen to see the 3,000 reindeer gone because they are severely overgrazing the native plants.
The government of South Georgia – a UK overseas territory administered from the Falkland Islands – has undertaken to remove the deer in time for the 2013 blitz on the rats, though it has not finally decided whether to do so by shooting them from the air or ground or by corralling and herding them.
After the cull, the only reindeer left in South Georgia will be on the crest of the island’s official coat of arms. “When we realised, it raised a chuckle,” says Martin. “But it was pointed out that there are no lions roaming around Britain, though there is a lion on the UK coat of arms.”

The rat eradication itself, however, is funded mainly by the South Georgia Trust, a conservation charity, though the UK government has contributed too through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The trust is still looking for donations to ensure that it can finish the job successfully, at a total cost estimated at £7m.
The ecological payback will be priceless. “This isn’t a job; it’s a vocation, a crusade,” Martin says. “The full benefits will take decades to arrive, because some of these birds are very slow breeders but others [such as the pintail duck and South Georgia pipit, the island’s native songbird] respond almost immediately.
“The buzz you feel when the first green shoots of recovery appear is hard to put into words.”

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We killed the right blue whales

Good news: we somehow killed just the right blue whales

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Rolf Schuttenhelm

Earth is a bit over 4.5 billion years old. Life on it is only about one billion years younger.

And let’s say Homo smartphonensis is a mere three years old.

That means we [not really ‘we’ – some of us resist symbols of stupidity] are actually privileged to be swimming in geological time accompanied by the largest organism Earth’s evolution over all these millions of years of dinosaurs and yetis has managed to produce: the blue whale.

And then we decided to kill over 99 percent of them.

[It is something we decided we could do over much of the 20th century. So that’s still fairly recently in geological history, if you think H. smartphonensis would perhaps not be directly to blame. (If however you are a scientist and you found evidence that does suggest a direct link, please do let us now. We do have email – indeed, we must be guilty of something else there.) The killing by western whalers ended in 1966, the Soviets continued until 1972. By that time only 400 individuals remained of a natural population of 250,000 Antarctic blue whales.]

New research by a group of American scientists – from the University of Oregon, NOAA and the University of Washington published in PLoS ONE– however shows the massive whale killings could have been a lucky shot. Somehow we must have killed each whale that still had at least one close relative swimming somewhere else across Earth’s Ocean.

The researchers have at least found that the remaining population of 2,200 blue whales still harbours very large genetic diversity – which is of course wonderful news.

For their research they have examined 218 biopsy samples collected from living [the trick is to use a smaller harpoon] Antarctic blue whales throughout the Southern Ocean from 1990 to 2009, through a project coordinated by the International Whaling Commission.

As the researchers also found prove that some of the whales actually swim in circles around Antarctica (at least 6,650 kilometers) within a couple of years, there is likely also decent mixing occurring between the different subpopulations of blue whales. All in all this would seem to suggest that the endangered marine mammals are genetically healthy and – if we allow them – could have a chance to recover to larger numbers and a stable, unthreatened population, which would be a good thing for the health of marine ecosystems in general.

Blue whales can grow to a length of more than 30 meters (100 feet) and can weigh an absolutely incredible 150,000 kilos (330,000 pounds) or more.

Under normal circumstances individuals live to an age of 70 to 100 years. This makes the species vulnerable after a large collapse, as it must have evolved around a slow reproduction rate. It also means some of the whales alive today are the same whales that swam through the whalers net to safety, now 40 forty years ago. It is good to know sometimes we are lucky. Because let’s reassure ourselves this is no human feat. Smartphones or not, we are still none the wiser when it comes to hunting down large marine predators and by chance even unwittingly dumber when it comes to Antarctica itself.

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