A couple of days ago, yeimaya contacted us to tell us about a great discovery.
Considering herself a "whale nut" since 1976—the year when Jacques-Yves Cousteau was just beginning to bring up gorgeous footage from the deep and pleading for the whales’ protection—she started volunteering for Allied Whale, College of the Atlantic’s marine mammal research group.
Yeimaya has been on Flickr almost from the beginning, "recreationally" doing random searches for humpbacks and coming up with a treasure trove of fluke photos. Based on this experience she was aware of the opportunity the billions of photos on Flickr may be able to provide.
Eventually hired by Allied Whale as a fluke matcher, she thought, "Being one myself, I have always believed in the power of citizen scientists and in the need for ‘ordinary people’ to relish and feel they can contribute to the knowledge we are gaining about our earth and animal neighbors.", and invited many of the photos that she found to her group Humpback whale flukes for further analysis.
And so it happened that one fluke submitted by freddyjohansen vacationing in Madagascar
matched a fluke in the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue that was seen in Brazil and consequently proved that one of the Humpbacks, a female known as Ahwc#1363, travelled over 6,000 miles (9,600 kilometers) in two years from the reefs of Brazil all the way to Madagascar. This is the longest verified distance ever covered by a whale.
Yeimaya closes our interview with "What better place to make that happen than Flickr?" and adds "Oh by the way one of the Whales that is seen often in the Gulf of Maine just happens to be a whale named Flicker".
We want to thank yeimaya for sharing this exciting discovery with us, and all the other citizen scientists on Flickr contributing to our rich pool of photography every day, enabling these wonderful discoveries.
Photo from freddyjohansen.