Antofagasta Region in northern Chile, a potential nursing ground for the Southern right whale Eubalaena australis


  • Ana Garcia Cegarra Santo Tomas University
  • Maritza Malebran Centro de Investigación de Fauna Marina y Avistamiento de Cetáceos (CIFAMAC), Chile.
  • Koen Van Waerebeek Centro Peruano de Estudios Cetológicos (CEPEC), Peruvian Centre for Cetacean Research, Lima-20.



Habitat Use


The Chile-Peru subpopulation (CPe) of the Southern right whale (Eubalaena australis) is classified as Critically Endangered following intense whaling in past centuries. Due to their very low abundance, information on breeding and feeding grounds is also scarce. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are increasingly applied in marine mammal research thanks to their low cost and relative ease of use. This case study documents a Southern right whale nursing in Bahía Moreno (23º S), Antofagasta, in northern Chile through high-resolution images taken by UAV of an adult in July 2019 and the same whale with a neonate in August. Combined with earlier data we hypothesize that the Antofagasta Region may be a potential calving and nursing ground for the CPe subpopulation. Given the intense shipping traffic and fishing activities around the Mejillones Peninsula and Antofagasta port, priorly recommended marine spatial planning to help avoid net entanglements and vessel collisions of fin and humpback whales may also contribute to the conservation of the CPe stock.

Author Biographies

Ana Garcia Cegarra, Santo Tomas University

Department of Basic Sciences, Faculty of Sciences

Maritza Malebran, Centro de Investigación de Fauna Marina y Avistamiento de Cetáceos (CIFAMAC), Chile.



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