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Discovering New Information about Narwhals with Satellite Tracking


WWF and partners are supporting a project to track narwhals, Arctic whales best known for the long tusk that sticks out from their faces. There are 50,000-80,000 narwhals in the world, with more than two-thirds of the population summering in the fjords and inlets of northern Nunavut, Canada.

Nine narwhals were fitted with satellite tracking devices in August 2011. Their movements are monitored as they swim around Baffin Bay, part of the Nunavut territory. Little is known about these whales, but the project is expected to provide:

  • information about their habits as they go about their annual feeding and reproductive routines
  • new data on how narwhals and other ice dwelling animals can adapt to a changing Arctic environment

We know the sea ice is shrinking, so findings from the project will be paired with existing knowledge to help narwhals survive changes to their habitat that are due to climate change. Local Inuit communities and other stakeholders will play a major role in ensuring a future for these animals. 

Learn about the process used to add the tracking devices to narwhals:

Did you know?
Narwhals are highly social and are usually found in groups of up to 10 and – sometimes – several hundreds.

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