Long-term resightings of humpback whales off Ecuador

Castro, C.; Acevedo, J.; Aguayo-Lobo, A.; Allen, J.; Capella, J.; Rosa, L. Dalla; Flores-González, L.; Kaufman, G.; Forestell, P.; Scheidat, M.; Secchi, E.R.; Stevick, P.; Santos, M.C.O.


This paper reports on the long-term re-sight histories of fifteen photo-identified humpback whales encountered to date transiting Ecuadorian waters. It also provides information about connections to feeding area destinations. Whale EC1261 has been resighted over a 26 year span and provides insight into age and potential longevity of this species in the stock G. The resighting of whale EC1261 provides the earliest connection from Ecuador to Antarctica. and supports previous findings that Antarctic Peninsula is the main feeding area of humpback whales migrating to Ecuadorian waters. Although there are only a low percentage of re-sighted animals between Ecuador and the Strait of Magellan, two records represent long-term observations of 17 and 21 years. Resightings of these whales previously confirmed the Straits of Magellan as a feeding area (Gibbons et al, 1998; Gibbons et al, 2003; Acevedo et al. 2007; Capella et al. 2008). These results are based on the individual identification of the ventral surface of humpback whale tails. This method has been used extensively by researchers, NGO’s and government institutions in Antarctica, Chile, and Colombia