South Georgia Right Whale project – Whale Tracking

The British Antarctic Survey whale research team at King Edward Point have been studying whale movements and patterns of habitat use in South Georgia waters. South Georgia was at the epicentre of modern whaling in the Southern Hemisphere, with over 170,000 whales killed within a days sailing of its shores. This suggests it was a very important place for whales in the past, perhaps due to its immense seasonal productivity and influx of Antarctic krill, which supports many thousands of fur seals and penguins.

For the first time ever we can now follow South Georgia whales in real time as they journey across their summer feeding grounds, to find out where they go and how they use this habitat.

Southern Right Whales

One southern right whale (Disco) was tagged on the 9th March 2024 near Ocean Harbour as part of the BAS DARWIN PLUS Hungry Humpbacks project, and the following map is tracking their movements in near real time (updated three times a day).

Two southern right whales (Annenkov and Braveheart) were tagged on the 28th January 2020 from RV Braveheart, and the following map shows their movements.

Click on a track to find out how far the whale has gone from the initial tagging location.

Our work helps us to find out where southern right whales go in the austral autumn, and to track them on their return migration to wintering grounds when they have finished feeding. This work helps us to better understand whale feeding rates and dive patterns, and where whales feed in relation to areas of high primary productivity such as the Antarctic polar front, krill fishery hotspots, and the Marine Protected Areas of the region.

Humpback Whales

Two humpback whales were tagged on the 19th and 21st January 2019, and the following map shows their movements, including one full migration to Brazil.
Click on a track to find out how far the whale has gone from the initial tagging location.

This work is supported by Darwin PLUS, EU BEST, Friends of South Georgia Island, South Georgia Heritage Trust, Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands and WWF.