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Canadian Researchers Just Found a Whale That Hasn't Been Seen in Over 50 Years

It's a sign that their numbers could finally be coming back.


Sometimes it seems like the bad news about the ocean never stops, but here's some good news:

Canada just found a whale in its waters that hadn't been seen in over 50 years.

sei whale

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According to the Globe and Mail, the cetacean in question is called the sei whale. It shares its whale family with blue whales and fin whales.

But the sei whale stands out for its superior speed.

The World Wildlife Fund reports that sei whales can swim up to 30 miles per hour. That's incredibly quick — especially for a 20-ton, 45- to 66-foot whale.

Like, would you want to see that speeding toward you at a higher speed limit than what's allowed on a residential street? Terrifying.

Super-speed aside, it's actually a really big deal that sei whales were spotted in Canadian waters again by a research team.

Globe and Mail reported that the scientists happened upon the whales during a 10-week survey of Canada's Pacific Ocean, where they were tasked to estimate a count of all the local marine mammal populations.

Now they can add sei whales to the list.

It's been so long since these whales were seen in Canada that some of the marine biologists had never seen the rare whales and didn't even know what they sounded like. But it was thanks to their unique calls that the sei whales were found.

According to Globe and Mail, sonar devices used to record the marine mammals in the area started picking up unusual whale calls. The research team eventually determined the noises were coming from sei whales after they compared the sounds to recordings made of the whales in other parts of the world.

Once they tracked the sounds to the source, the team was stunned to see five sei whales hidden among a pod of fin whales.

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Not only are the sei whales rare in Canada, but they're also considered endangered worldwide by the ICUN red list. Globe and Mail reported that only two confirmed sei whale sightings occurred off the waters of America between 1991 and 2001 — two sightings in 10 years.

It's no surprise that these whales are scarce. NOAA Fisheries reported that commercial whaling dropped sei whale numbers by 300,000 until its ban in 1980. In the North Pacific Ocean, only 20 percent of the original population still lives in those waters.

But perhaps the new sighting in Canada suggests that their numbers are finally returning slowly in the decades since the whaling moratorium.

See? Told you this was a good news article.

The whales won one today. Now let's go win another tomorrow.

sei whale

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