|9459 seen in Vestmannaeyjar.|
Much of the difficulty of studying killer whales in Iceland comes with unpredictable changes in their distribution as they follow their herring prey which changes its location throughout the year and between years. And of course, many locations where whales occur are difficult to access or exposed to weather making working conditions, well, unworkable! This is why it is so important to have as much help as possible! Sighting reports from anyone out at sea that comes across killer whales makes it possible to understand which whales go where.
Of course some animals may be only occasional visitors in Iceland and so will not be seen for long periods of time simply because they are elsewhere. But we don't know if this is the case! Long-term studies and wide coverage make it possible to have an idea of the residency patterns of whales in Icelandic coastal waters that help us answer questions such as that.
And it is not just knowing the whereabouts of whales. By regularly following who is around we can better understand birth rates, mortality rates and we can even estimate how many whales are likely to live in Icelandic coastal waters. All this information help us understand if the population is doing well or is facing any threats. As top predators, these whales play a very important role in the food chain so knowing more about them is crucial to our understanding of the whole ecosystem.
Find out below how you can help!