SPECIES: Balaenoptera borealis — Sei Whale


The Sei Whale is a slim, streamlined whale species, dark grey or blue-grey on the back and sides and mottled underneath. The female can grow up to 21m - just about as long as a cricket pitch - males usually measure shorter at 17m or so. The Sei Whale, a Southern Hemisphere whale, will only produce one offspring every 2-3 years, the low reproductive rate hindering rapid population recovery. In terms of behaviour, they sink rather than dive and tend to be shallow simmers with their heads seldom emerging.

Australian Antarctic waters are important feeding grounds for Sei Whales - as they provide cool, temperate areas. Breeding occurs in tropical and subtropical waters. It's hard to say just what the current population size of Sei Whales is likely to be. What is known, though, is that commercial whaling in the past has severely depleted the population. Habitat degradation and pollution are also high on the list of threats to this beautiful marine species.

Photo: WWF

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