[MARMAM] Post request: Sighting of a right whale newborn at the Canary Islands

Natacha naguilar at ull.edu.es
Wed Dec 23 06:06:56 PST 2020

Dear Marmam colleagues

A historical event at El Hierro, Canary Islands, Spain on the 22nd of
December 2020.

A 4 m long N Atlantic right whale calf with foetal folds was filmed by the
little fishing harbour of La Restinga, by divers of the diving center Fan
Diving (https://fan-diving-el-hierro.business.site/). See the beautiful
video https://www.facebook.com/1202708786/posts/10224640760385426/

Eubalaena glacialis is considered functionally extinct in the NE Atlantic,
where it used to breed at Cintra Bay at the African coast near Canary

The video shows that the calf is a newborn, the flukes are still soft
(comments of Vidal Martin, SECAC).This means that the calf was born not too
far from the Canary Islands and makes the sighting a message of hope, is
there a remannent breeding population in the NE Atlantic?

The main threat to the North Atlantic right whale is ship strikes, and the
Canary Islands is a hot spot for ship strikes of sperm whales and other
cetaceans. e.g. see Fais et al 2016 (
or Arbelo et al. 2013 (

The fact that the calf was alone is not good news.The mother should have
been by the side of such a young calf. Local scientists, with the help of
the insular government of El Hierro, are raising public awareness to get
eyes in the water from the coast to detect further sightings. If this
happens, what should we do? should we try to recover the calf? Advices

May 2021 bring you tons of whales and bring the word recover biodiversity
to gain global health!



Dra. Natacha Aguilar de Soto
Research and teaching fellow

Department of Animal Biology, Edaphology and Geology
Faculty of Sciences (Biology)

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