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Where do Whales Migrate

Maya Pillai
Factors such as climatic changes, water temperature, salinity, depth and topography of the ocean bed, and the abundance of food play a significant role in the migration of whales. Here is more information on where do they migrate.
During the warm or summer months, these giant mammals of the ocean migrate to the cold waters in search of food, and also to cool their body. Remember, they are warm-blooded marine mammals. When the weather becomes cold, the food also become scarce, and during this period they migrate to warmer waters for mating and breeding.

Migration of Different Types of Whales

Southern Right Whales

During summer, southern right whales migrate to the colder food-rich waters near Antarctica. However, the exact location is still unknown.
The winter and spring months being the mating and calving seasons, they are tentatively found along the southern coast of Africa, South America, western coast of New Zealand, and in the Great Blight of Australia.

Blue Whales

Blue whales travel thousands of kilometers between their breeding and calving, and the feeding seasons.
During the summer months, they travel to the feeding ground in high latitude and cool waters of either the Antarctic or Arctic Ocean. Here they nourish on the rich supply of krill and other small fish and mammals.
At the end of the feeding season and in the beginning of breeding season, the aged and pregnant blue whales migrate first to the warm waters near the tropics. Female whales give birth in the warm waters and during this period they virtually eat nothing. Instead live on body reserves.

Humpback Whales

Humpback whales living in the northern and southern hemisphere of the earth, cross over to the other side of the globe during the feeding and breeding season.
This means that those living on the northern hemisphere migrate to the tropical waters for breeding and calving, while the ones living on the southern hemisphere travel towards the polar regions to feed and vice versa.
An interesting fact is when the humpback whales migrate, their average speed is only 1 mph because they would be resting and also socializing along the way. For instance, those traveling to the feeding grounds in Antarctica, stop at the warm water of Hervey Bay, Queensland, Australia.

Killer Whales

Killer whales are found in all the oceans of the world. Their migration is influenced by the migration of fish and other marine life, such as seals, herring, and so on.
For instance, in eastern Canada, the migration of the killer whales is influenced by the migration of the seals, and in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean they follow migration of the herrings. In the Bering Sea and the Beaufort Sea, the seasonal movements and retreat of the icebergs and ice packs influence the migration considerably.

Gray Whales

Gray whales are found mainly in the Eastern North Pacific Ocean (America) and in the Western North Pacific Ocean (Asia).
Those found in the Western North Pacific Ocean migrate from winter breeding and calving grounds of Japan and the Korean Peninsula to their summer feeding regions in the Northern Okhotsk Sea.
While those residing in Eastern North Pacific, migrate 20,000 km between their summer feeding in Alaska and the Beaufort Sea, and for the winter breeding and calving ground in California, Canada, and Mexico.

Northern Right Whales

Unlike the gray and humpback whales, northern right ones do not travel long distances for feeding, breeding, and calving.
During the winter months when breeding and calving take place, the pregnant female whales are seen in the coastal waters of Florida and Georgia. In the spring months, northern right whales are seen in Massachusetts Bay, east of Cape Cod, and Great South Channel.
The summer and autumn months are the feeding months. During this period whales could be seen in the warmer waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.