Aarhus Universitets segl

Large aggregation of bowhead whales discovered in the Northeast Water Polynya

The bowhead whale with a calf in the Northeast Water Polynya. Photo: Rasmus Due Nielsen

During a survey of the Northeast Greenland walrus population in August 2009, several bowhead whales were observed in the Northeast Water Polynya. As the survey was done under strict systematic conditions, an abundance estimate in the area could be calculated. This resulted in astonishing 102 whales (95 % CI 32-329) and is the largest abundance of bowhead whales reported from the Greenland Sea since whaling nearly exterminated the stock of bowhead whales occurring between Spitsbergen and Greenland (the Spitsbergen stock). In 2004 this stock was estimated to only 50 individuals by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and the bowhead whale is listed as critically endangered. The Northeast Greenland observations therefore provide renewed hope for the bowhead whale population of Northeast Greenland. 

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