Spotlight Russia: Despite wind and weather, western grey whales abound

This post was filed from the field by the International Fund for Animal Welfare Western Grey Whale Research team collectively. - MV

Members of the IFAW Russia Western Grey Whale Research team enjoying the day.The wind is such a pain in the neck!

Being deaf to supplications, threats and convictions, it meets us in the morning with importunity of a loyal dog and doesn’t leave us even for a minute till the evening.

It could bring slippers, if we leave them outside.

Taking into account such a miserable situation, we use every opportunity to have a whale survey.

We were especially lucky at this first time: we were breaking through two storms.

This survey was quite unusual.

First of all, oil industy workers blocked the whole bay.

One of them, trying to be nice, has told us, that they have routine exercises by elimination of oil flood, a very good thing, by the way.

Secondly, the whales, we were observing, had very unusual behavior.

They seemed to be frightened.

Whales were running away every time we were trying to get closer, making photo identification more difficult for us.

The causes of such a behavior are unknown to us.

We can only guess.

During the next survey we were witness of a typical for a shallow water social activity behavior. The whales touched each other and showed thoracic and caudal fins above the water.

One mother was just lying on the sand, putting out her tale and sometimes looking around.

Her whale kid was swimming around, coming to us and showing no signs of nervousness.

Once a nasty day, the local people came to us.

They were deer breeders. Deer are an amazing wonderful and calm animal with fluffy horns.

We met them with great pleasure.

It is already a half of the whole time, we will stay on Piltun.

We have recorded 58 whales.

Despite the rare surveys it’s a quite good result.

We are going to spend the rest of the time with the same effectiveness.

With an equator of expedition,

IFAW Piltuns crew researching the grey whales.

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Brian Sharp, Emergency Relief Officer, Stranding Coordinator
Manager, Marine Mammal Rescue and Research
Dr. Maria (Masha) N. Vorontsova, Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation
Senior Advisor to the IFAW Marine Conservation Program
Matt Collis, Director, International Policy
Director, International Policy
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation