Varvara, a gray whale, has added an incredible fame to its name by becoming the mammal to have the longest-ever migration. The 9-year-old female mammal made the record by swimming 13,987 miles from Russia to Mexico and returned back to Russia in a period of less than six months.
The biologists came across the awesome accomplishment of the whale when they were carrying a study on the whale’s migration in order to better understand the migrating pattern of a unique population of gray whales. For the study, the researchers were tracking those gray whales who prefer to swim in the northwestern Pacific waters along the coast of Russia.
While elaborating upon the path and length of Varvara’s epic journey, the researchers at the Marine Mammal Institute of the Oregon State University said that the gray whale had set records after completing just the first half of her journey.
The whale’s trip from the Arctic waters of the north-west Pacific near Sakhalin Island in Russia, which is her preferred feeding waters, to the breeding grounds off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, had already bought the mammal the record for the longest transoceanic voyage by around 2,000 miles. Her return journey just acted as an addition to the cushion.
The researchers said that the incredible and rare thing about Varvara’s journey is not just the record length it covered, but the way of her trek in the open ocean. Generally, most of the whales stick to the coasts while swimming. Hence, the scientists had assumed that the gray whale population belonging to the western Pacific region must be traveling in a loop from the Arctic Ocean to the South China Sea. Contrary, Varvara forewent the coastal landmarks and crossed the Bering Sea without biding by any concrete nautical reference points.
Varvara swam not alone during the initial leg as two other whales — 13-year-old male whale, named Flex, and Agent, a 6-year-old female- were there to give the female gray whale an exciting company.
The researchers have detailed Varvara’s epic journey in the latest issue of the journal Biology Letters.