The North Atlantic right whale is among the most endangered whale species in the world. Per the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), fewer than 340 North Atlantic right whales are left. Given the relatively expansive range of North Atlantic right whales, researchers must utilize many different technologies to find and monitor whales, including thermal cameras.
Nearly half of all North Atlantic right whale mortality since 1970 results from vessel strikes and being entangled in fishing gear. Using various detection methods, the IFAW’s researchers can keep mariners informed about the location of North Atlantic right whales. Among the vessels the IFAW uses to research and monitor whales is the Song of the Whale, a purpose-built ship explicitly designed for whale research.
“The work that we are doing is focused on trying to develop techniques for better informing where the whales are at any given time, so mitigation measures can be put in place,” says Richard McLanaghan of the IFAW.