The unexpected return to the Patagonian sea of ​​the sei whale, missing since 1929

After a century of absence, the majestic Sei whale has made a remarkable return to the Argentinean coast, gracing the shores of Rada Tally in Chubut

Credits: Diego Cabanas

Once on the brink of extinction, its reappearance after such a prolonged absence heralds a potential resurgence for this magnificent creature. Among the largest whales globally, the Sei whale's return to these Patagonian waters marks a poignant moment, especially considering the decimation of its population until the mid-20th century.

Measuring between 18 to 19.5 meters in length, with a distinctive steel grey upper body and a contrasting white belly adorned with throat grooves that expand as they feed, the Sei whale is a sight to behold. Beyond its physical characteristics, it possesses a remarkable intellect, with a brain six times larger than that of humans relative to its size, and a keen awareness of human presence.

Whale Sei in San Jorge

The resurgence of these creatures began as whispers in the waves around 2003/2004, when citizens reported sightings of whale spouts near the Punta Marquez Natural Reserve. Subsequent years saw dedicated efforts by biologists, aided by modern technology like drones, to study and protect these magnificent beings. Through meticulous biopsy sampling, scientists confirmed the identity of these returning giants as Sei whales, estimating their numbers at around 2,600.

Building on this newfound knowledge, the initiative has garnered support from institutions like National Geographic to further research efforts. Plans are underway to deploy an additional 30 to 40 trackers, providing invaluable insights into the behavior and migration patterns of these enigmatic creatures.

Beyond the scientific community, the resurgence of the Sei whale presents a unique opportunity for local citizens. Increased sightings offer not only a glimpse into the natural world but also hold the potential to boost tourism and economic development in the coastal cities of Chubut. As these magnificent creatures grace the waters once more, they bring with them the promise of a brighter future for both wildlife and communities alike.

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