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In Photos: Tracking Humpback Whales

Whale Tag

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

The Cook Islands whale research team tags a humpback whale as it surfaces off the island of Rarotonga. The whales are being tagged as part of "The Great Whale Trail." The project is a collaboration between Greenpeace and Nan Hauser, who studies humpback whales in the Cook Islands.

Straight and Arrow

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

Researhers have found humpback whales, like this one off Rarotonga, Cook Islands in the South Pacific, are extremely precise navigators.

Whale Tail

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

Marine mammologist Ygor Geyer tags a humpback whale while the director of the Cook Islands whale research team, Nan Hauser, records the event in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.

Tagging Humpbacks

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) regularly swim roughly 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers) between breeding and feeding grounds.

Marine Giant

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

Humpback whales can reach some 40 to 50 feet in length, here one is shown along the Cook Islands in the South Pacific.

Behemoth Undertaking

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Greenpeace/Paul Hilton)

The tags embedded in the skin and blubber of humpback whales are about 8 to 12 inches long and naturally fall off over time.

Radio Tag

humpback whale tag

(Image credit: Nan Daeschler Hauser)

The Cook Island whale research team tag a humpback whale as it surfaces off Rarotonga, Cook Islands. The radio tag is embedded in the skin and blubber so scientists can track the animal's movements.