Sei Whale in Tenerife
Today we were very excited to observe a Sei whale here in Tenerife! Sei whales are rarely sighted even though they are the 3rd largest baleen whale species in the world! Thanks to Dr Marc at our Cetacean Sightings Station who found the whale and so we were able to head directly to the area for some great observations. The whale was swimming erratic patterns which can be an indication of feeding behaviour (fish don’t sit still and wait to become dinner). The Sei Whale is the 9th cetacean (whale and dolphin) species that we have seen on our tours in the last few months and further proof that having a Sightings Station really improves whale watching!
Sei whales are rare anywhere and that includes Tenerife. Typically, baleen whales are usually seen during the early spring in the Canary Islands, before they migrate north for summer feeding season. So finding a Sei whale in Tenerife in August is a welcome surprise. We are a group of scientists after all and the one thing we know is that there is a lot more to understand about the lives of whales and dolphins.
Sei whales have the scientific name Balaenoptera borealis and are the 3rd largest baleen whale species behind the Blue whale and Fin whale. The live up to 70 years, can grow up to 19 meters long and weigh over 28 metric tonnes. They are one of the fastest whales having been recorded swimming over 50 km/h over short distances. The Sei whale population was severely damaged by commercial whaling operations and the global population of Sei whales has still not recovered. The IUCN lists the Sei whale as ‘Endangered’ of extinction.
Our thanks to Dr Marc from our Cetacean Sightings Station today who reported the Sei whale offshore and directed our boat in for some wonderful observations. Our Guide Laura got many good images to share with whale research and conservation projects. We hope to hear of a match for this whale and learn where else the whale has been seen. Thanks to everyone who joined us today as we added a new species to our list of whales and dolphins seen in Tenerife, the Sei Whale!