Research has found humpback whales migrating off Australia’s east coast were happier and less stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Queensland’s School of the Environment led the study using drone vision and blubber samples to measure the health, size and condition of the mammals off Minjerribah, near North Stradbroke Island.

The whales were monitored during their annual migration and intense breeding period in 2020 and 2021 and found to have lower cortisol concentrations as the pandemic entered its second year.

Research has found Australian humpback whales migrating off the east coast were happier and less stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Humpback whales migrating off the east coast were happier during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jake Linsky)
Research has found Australian humpback whales migrating off the east coast were happier and less stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The University of Queensland’s School of the Environment led the study using drone vision and blubber samples. (Dana Cusano)

The findings signalled a decline in “environmental stressors” partly due to people being under lockdown at that time, researcher Dr Jake Linsky said.

“Several things happened during this period that likely contributed to our findings, including a shift in climate into La Niña and dramatic changes to human activity during the pandemic,” he said.

“Our gene expression results also raise a further hypothesis that the whales may have been responding to a decline in pollutants in their remote feeding waters.”

Research has found Australian humpback whales migrating off the east coast were happier and less stressed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Research crews collected bubble samples by approaching the whales on boat. (Raph Mayoud )

Linsky said human impacts on the east coast environment needed to be addressed.

“Eastern Australian humpback whales have demonstrated a remarkable ability to adapt to changes in their environment, but our study emphasises the importance of mitigating human impacts so they can continue to thrive in our rapidly changing oceans,” he said.

“By continuing to monitor and protect humpback whales off Australia’s east coast, we can ensure their health and stability while also offering valuable insights into how other struggling whale populations might be conserved.”

Deep-sea squid’s unusual cargo shocks scientists

The research supported similar studies that found a decline in stress hormones in whales on the opposite side of the Antarctic. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Andrew Garfield’s ‘witch’ girlfriend blasts ‘misogynistic’ reaction to their romance: ‘Nothing could prepare me’

Dr. Kate Tomas slammed the “misogynistic” reaction to her romance with Andrew…

Fundraising shock in hours after Biden withdraws

The Democratic online fundraising platform ActBlue says it raised US$27.5 million ($41…

'Hero dad' killed trying to save his twins from train tracks named

Anand Runwal, 40, died alongside one of the two-year-old twins, at Carlton…

Anthony Koutoufides: Sex symbol footy legend turned reality TV star could become Melbourne’s next lord mayor in shock move

 Anthony Koutoufides is considering a run for mayor   Former Carlton champion says…