White whale research season ends in White Sea

White whale research season ends in White Sea

5 September 2014

The Marine Mammal Council (MMC) has completed its most recent field research phase of the long-term project White Whale of the White Sea-2014, carried out in cooperation with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Taking part in the expedition were MMC experts and researchers from the P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.


The expedition, which took place in June-August 2014, explored white whale breeding areas off Cape Beluzhy on Solovetsky Island, which is located in Onega Bay, and around Golaya Koshka Island in Dvina Bay.


On Solovetsky Island, researchers have monitored the white whale population, including its age and sex distribution, for years using remotely piloted aircraft. This season, aerial observations of white whales shed light on the size, spatial distribution, and composition of the white whale population in the open sea, far from the observation station. Special kites were tested and proved to be an effective tool for aerial observations.


More than 20,000 photos of the Solovetsky whale cluster were taken. Seven tissue samples were taken for genetic analysis of the white whale population.