Humpback Whales in Tenerife
Tenerife seems to always have many cetacean species to encounter, today there was a new surprise in store for our whale watchers when we found a Humpback Whale. This is the 10th cetacean (whale and dolphin) species that we have seen on our tours in the last few months. It is very exciting to have our Cetacean Sightings Station proving a success for our little science based whale watching tours organisation!
Humpback whales are rarely seen in Tenerife, averaging about one whale per month since we started our science based whale watching organisation. Tenerife is in the northern Atlantic Ocean and the prevailing theory is that any Humpback whales seen here would therefore belong to a Northern Atlantic population. Most likely they would then be part of the migration that visits Cape Verde between December and March. However, that doesn’t really explain this Humpback whale in September!
Humpback whales are scientifically named Megaptera novaeangliae and are a baleen whale species. They have uniquely long pectoral fins, a knobby head and a robust body. They grow up to 16 meters and 40 metric tonnes in weight. This species is also very well known for its long annual migrations, their complex songs and their acrobatic displays both of which make the Humpback whale one of the most charismatic whale species.
It was a very excited Dr Marc at the Cetacean Sightings Station today who reported the rare appearance of the Humpback whale here in Tenerife. Our Guide Laura had the initial observation of the whale from the boat and recorded that this cetacean was thin and infested with parasites. Sadly, not looking very healthy, although some parasites are normal on Humpback whales. We alerted the local authorities and relayed a warning to other whale watching companies to avoid needlessly stressing the whale. We hope this Humpback whale makes a recovery and we are able to see more Humpback whales visiting Tenerife in the near future.