Whaling activities are driving large numbers of the Australian blue whales into Antarctica, currently on the endangered list, shows a study.
"Our genetic data unexpectedly found a higher proportion of pygmy blue whales in the Antarctic than the whaling catch data," said Catherine Attard, study co-author and doctoral candidate at Macquarie University, who is researching whale genetics with Flinders varsity.
"Our genetic analyses are based on samples collected since 1990. Previous analyses are based on non-genetic, biological data from historical whaling records, which span from 1913 to 1973," Attard was quoted as saying in the journal Molecular Ecology.
"This suggests either that climate change has recently pushed Australian whales to colder climates, or that decreases in population size from historical whaling has changed the ecology of the subspecies," said Luciana Moller of Flinders University.