A Rare Look at the Disappearing World of Antarctica's Whales
As the southern continent rapidly warms, some whale populations are booming—while others are suffering from lack of ice.
Cierva Cove, AntarcticaHe holds a rifle, with two metal harpoons protruding from its muzzle. His gaze is fixed a few feet ahead, where something big stirs just beneath the surface. “OK, put it in neutral,” he says to the driver. Our boat drifts closer.
A jet of mist suddenly erupts from the water. The humpback whale exhales with a grunt, emitting a putrid whiff of stomach acid and decay.
The Oregon State University marine ecologist brings the rifle to his shoulder and pulls the trigger. The dart flies into the animal's dorsal fin just as it sinks beneath the waves.
It’s a perfect shot: The small GPS sensor will stay lodged in the whale’s fin for a month. Each time the giant surfaces, its sensor