Distressing animation captures a whale’s struggle to avoid ship strikes

A blue whale’s tail above the water. | Photo by Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register via Getty Images

An eye-catching animation ricocheted across Twitter this week, showing the struggles of a single blue whale as it tried to avoid crowds of shipping vessels in the Corcovado Gulf. The animation accompanied a study published in the journal Nature this week examining the overlapping paths of ships and blue whales in the waters off Chilean Patagonia.

Whales, including the one featured in the video, were tagged and tracked for up to three months as they moved through the gulf. The tracking data was then compared against vessel traffic patterns from a Chilean database. The scientists say their results point to a need for more protective measures, including speed regulations, to prevent ships from hitting whales in the area.

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