Innovations in satellite technology to save endangered whales

Whales are giant aquatic mammals. This large group of species is collectively known as cetaceans. They breathe air through the blowhole, unlike other fishes that use gills for the purpose. Reports say that such a fascinating creature is on the verge of extinction. Let's find out more about the satellite project which is used to count the number of whales.


There are a number of threats to the whales and most of them arise directly from human activities. In the last century, commercial whaling brought most of the species of whales to the point of extinction. Although some of these habitats are limiting the return of commercial hunting from radical national bans.

Some of these whale communities today are healthy or otherwise growing slowly, while others continue to decline. Of the 13 known species as the "Great Whale," 7 are currently classified as threatened with extinction or disadvantaged.

Threats to whales

The following are considered as the biggest threats to the whales.
  • Threats from entanglement will slow them down and limit their capacity to hunt, leading to hunger and death.
  • Threats from commercial whaling led to the extinction of some species. Illegal hunting causes mass annihilation in the community.
  • Threats from ship strikes can lead to deep injuries and eventually result in their death.
  • Threats from climate changes. Climate changes increase the ocean temperature which will affect the feeding ground of whales.
  • Threats due to ingestion of marine debris

For protecting the whale population

Massachusetts scientists are working together on a project, that aims to use satellite technology to count and monitor whales in an effort to understand and protect the species from extinction. They think it will help to protect them from endangering if they could closely monitor them from outer space. To improve their safety, the New England Aquarium of Boston and the Draper Engineering Company are seeking the help of sophisticated space technology.

The plan is to constantly monitor the number of whales and the migratory patterns with the help of satellites, sonars, radars, and more on a large scale. The project is named Counting Whales from Space. According to John Irvine, a leading data analyst at Draper Company, the number of whales taken from space is not as simple as the name suggests. The New England Aquarium and Draper Company are jointly funding a $ 1 million project. According to John Irvine, the project is designed to protect whales globally.

Space-based data collection can help you find out why whales move from one place to another. The plan is to gather information on recreational use from European space agencies and radio operators to determine where the whales are located. Based on the information thus obtained, crews established to protect the whales will be able to monitor them accurately. The team is now testing various algorithms that can continuously scan for satellite images. From this, we will get more accurate figures for living whale colonies.

Although the project is designed to protect whales around the world, the main focus is on the ocean area near New England. This is in part due to a significant reduction in the number of whales in the area. In conjunction with the latest data analytics techniques, marine biologists and ecologists will benefit from this. Once they start the data collection, it could give an answer for the migration of whales from one location to another, whether is it because of the ocean warming or commercial shipping lanes. The findings of this study are highly promising and point the way to modern automatic inspection techniques that are ready to transform the ability of scientists to track global whale population trends with increased precision, frequency, and at a lower cost and reduced risk than conventional methods.

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