Photo: R. Soley
Legal’s 109 day tracking route (8,918 km)
Legal’s transmitter ceased functioning on January 12. She and her calf were traveling southwest in the deep South Atlantic Ocean Basin. The information she provided during the 109 days she was tracked is very valuable for our understanding of the routes traveled by the Valdés whales and their use of the various areas in the Southwest Atlantic Ocean.
January 06 – January 11, 2020
Legal and her calf are now slightly south of the area they were in last week. Her last position shows she is about 37 kilometers from Diana, another mother and calf pair we are tracking.
December 29, 2019 – January 05, 2020
Legal and her calf remained in the same zone on the border of the continental slope this entire week, moving only slightly northwards 140 kilometers.
December 22 – December 28, 2019
Legal traveled for a week in the deep ocean basin, just as the majority of females with calves have done. From the spot where Afuerita is now, Legal has been swimming in an arch towards the northeast for the last seven days. Right now mother and calf are 115 kilometers away from Paciencia and Aconcagua.
December 16 – December 21, 2019
Legal and her calf, which is now more than three months old, continue in the area adjacent to the Blue Hole. Paciencia and her calf Aconcagua remain close by them. This zone appears to be very important for our whales, especially for the mothers with calves.
December 05 – December 15, 2019
Legal and her calf left the area they were in, close to the edge of the continental shelf, and traveled east northeast. They are now about 140 kilometers from Paciencia and her calf Aconcagua.
November 26 – December 04, 2019
Legal and her calf are now east of the area known as “Blue Hole”, a marine region that has abundant primary production and whale food. Afuerita, Paciencia, Diana and Tempranera are also close to the area.
November 17 – November 25, 2019
Legal and her calf left Golfo Nuevo around November 20th. In five days they traveled more than 500 kilometers towards the southeast, arriving at the continental slope. Legal, the same as other whale mothers, will try to regain her weight and strength while continuing to care for the needs of her growing calf.
November 10 – November 16, 2019
This mother and her calf traveled within the gulf, spending considerable time in the deep waters at the center of the gulf. For the last two days they have been in an area close to Punta Pirámides known as “El Nido” (The Nest) to the whale watching guides. At this time of year the whale watching boats visit this area frequently because the whale calves remain on the surface of the water while their mothers dive underneath.
November 2 – November 9, 2019
This female and her calf continue swimming round and round inside Golfo Nuevo in a counter-clockwise direction. At this time they are about 12 kilometers from the city of Puerto Madryn. The tracking team observed this mother in the northern sector of the gulf swimming slowly on the surface with her enormous mouth wide open, a feeding behavior which is not typical in this area.
October 27 – November 1, 2019
After a few days in the neighborhood of Puerto Pirámides, Legal and her calf traveled along almost the entire coast of Golfo Nuevo in a counter-clockwise direction. In this area the sounds that right whales make under water have been recorded. These sounds are very different from the wheezing noises they produce when on the surface. The sounds made underwater are short, deep bass “whimpers”, most likely produced by the mothers to communicate with their calves. This species of whale does not produce the spectacular “songs”, so characteristic of humpback whales.
October 16 – October 26, 2019
Legal and her calf remain in Golfo Nuevo swimming between Puerto Pirámides, the coast of El Doradillo and Puerto Madryn. As the calves grow they separate more often from their mothers, daring to explore the world that surrounds them, while never straying away from their mothers for very long.
September 25 – October 15, 2019
This mother and her calf stayed within Golfo Nuevo, in the costal zone between Puerto Pirámides and Puerto Madryn. Legal and her calf were surely observed very often from the beaches of El Doradillo, only a few kilometers from Puerto Madryn, by visitors who gather there to watch whales from the coast.