The eastern South Pacific Ocean, off Chilean Patagonia, is a summer destination for blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) nursing and looking for food. But the region is also a dangerous spot for them, as it is overrun with up to 1000 vessels a day, increasing the risk of collisions with the already endangered mammals, The Guardian reports. In a study published in Nature this week, researchers tracked the position of 15 blue whales in the region over 5 years to build a model that predicts the animals’ distribution. They matched the model with official vessel traffic data to pinpoint where ship strikes are more likely to occur for the species. This animation above—showing a week in the life of one blue whale (blue dot) trying to avoid vessels (orange dots)—reveals how risky the area is for the animals and could serve as a base for future conservation policies.
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