“It was a very touching moment to see something so fantastic and so majestic, especially knowing it could have been lost. Their slow recovery is a success for conservation. It shows there is hope.” – Andreas B. Heide
In a recent National Geographic UK article written by Hugh Francis Anderson, Barba and Arctic Sense 2021 were featured with the story of their blue whale encounter during the expedition. The article depicts the strong feelings of emotion felt by the crew being that close to the largest animal on earth, and seeing likely 10 different individuals at once. As the North Atlantic population of blue whales was brought to the brink of extinction, it is estimated that still only around 1,000 individuals are living today. However, seeing these animals, an arguable 1% of the entire population, gives hope that despite humans nearly depleting them entirely, they are making a slow recovery.
This is not to say that North Atlantic blue whales aren’t still facing major threats – they are far from ‘saved’. For these reasons, Andreas plans to hopefully return to Svalbard in 2023 with the specific focus of further studying and tracking the blues.
Read the full article here
Feature photo by Tord Karlsen / Barba