Beautiful Valdes Peninsula and Patagonia!
Patagonia stretches to the Valdes Peninsula, Argentina and becomes the food source and playing ground of the Southern Right Whales. It is considered one of the beautiful plateaus that spread in Argentina and Chile. It comprises the most southern areas of the Andes Mountains as well as the plateaux and low plains in the east.
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Valdes Peninsula itself lies in one of the beautiful sites in the world on the Atlantic coast. It is one of the good places in the world for preservation of several threatened species of mammals.
It is important for breeding southern right whales and elephant seals and southern sea lions. This area in Valdes Peninsula and Patagonia exhibits many beach activities and builds wildlife tourism treasury.
Both of these beautiful sites in the world are ideal for their purpose. In the Southern Ocean, the whales feed on the abundant krill - small, shrimp-like crustaceans- that live in the cold waters. At the Valdés Peninsula, they mate, calve and raise their offspring in the sheltered lagoons of the Nuevo and the San José Gulf.
Thousands of huge mammals, measuring up to 18 meters and weighing about 130 tonnes, migrate every year, during the South American winter. They leave their feeding grounds in the waters of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica to their breeding areas in Patagonia in the Valdés Peninsula.
Mammals choose protected waters located between the peninsula and Patagonia mainland. They come to the area between May and December, for mating and giving birth, because the water in the gulf is warmer and quieter than the open sea.
The whales share this breeding ground with large colonies of sea lions and elephant seals. They will often cavort with their calves, sometimes just 200 meters from shore, attracting thousands of curious spectators from all over the world to Valdes Peninsula and Patagonia.
To the delight of their audiences, they teach their calves a piece of behaviour that is unique to the Southern Right Whale known as "sailing" - using their elevated flukes to catch the wind and glide more easily across the ocean.
Krill, the Southern Right Whale's main source of food, live on algae. Higher sea temperatures and melting sea ice around the Antarctic will decimate the algae and krill alike, posing a severe threat to the survival of the whales.
In years when the Antarctic summer has been warm, a decline has been noted in the number of calves born. Miscarriages induced by lack of food are believed to be the cause.
There are already registered a decrease in the number of calves born in the years when there has been hot summers in Antarctica, and one assumes that the whale mothers have aborted because of food shortages.
The whales in Valdes Peninsula and Patagonia give birth every three years, and after an abortion, it takes two years before they can again become pregnant.
Research shows that young whales learn from their mothers exactly where in the immense ocean to look for food, and that this knowledge has been passed down for generations.
If the food vanishes from their current feeding grounds, it will be very difficult for them to move elsewhere in the Valdes Peninsula and Patagonia. One could imagine that right whales might just find other areas to seek food in, but old habits are hard to change, after all.
Four species, acrobatic activities, when whales' protection rise, people just watch them. Whalers thought they are the right to catch so they have the name right whale.
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