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Tracking narwhals – Fall 2011

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Visit the WWF narwhal tracker

November 2011
It’s great to see that all of the 7 custom designed narwhal satellite radio tags are performing well. This brings us weekly updated information about key areas used in Baffin Bay and northern Davis Strait. With Canadian Arctic temperatures having plummeted to 20-30C below zero this past week, sea-ice formation is in full swing, which is good news for narwhals basically! If thyere were any pods of killer whales in these areas, we suspect that they have by now moved well south and away from the arctic sea-ice conditions.

October 2011
With the returning annual sea-ice now forming around North Baffin Island, the 7 narwhals have all moved out from the summering inlets ahead of the ice.

Although Tremblay Sound still appears from the detailed ice charts to be mainly open water, the channels around there have heavy ice cover, and so would have possibly blocked the narwhals return to more open water in Baffin Bay. At this point, sea-ice cover in this part of the Arctic is close to the norm from the past 30 years at this date.

As of early October, these high-tech satellite radio tags have been programmed to transmit only every four days, for the duration of winter and spring, to save on battery power and prolong their overall tracking life. (The satellites can of course only pick up the emitted signal when the narwhal is at the surface.)

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