Scientists to track blue whale

Tuesday 22 Jan 2013 2:02 p.m.

Researchers from five nations including New Zealand will depart from Hobart in search for the largest animal on earth, the Antarctic blue whale

Researchers from five nations including New Zealand will depart from Hobart in search for the largest animal on earth, the Antarctic blue whale

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A team of researchers from five nations are set to search for numbers of the world's largest creature and analyse its behaviour in the Antarctic waters.

Scientists from Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Chile and New Zealand will use sonar devices to track and find the Antarctic blue whale across hundreds of kilometres in the Southern Ocean.

Australian Environment Minister Tony Burke said the first voyage of the Antarctic Blue Whale project aimed to calculate the numbers of the mammal, its spread across the waters and its behaviour.

"The Antarctic blue whale can grow to over 30 metres in length and weigh up to 180 tonnes, its tongue alone is heavier than an elephant and its heart is as big as a small car," he said in a statement today.

"Even the largest dinosaur was smaller than the blue whale."

Mr Burke said the 18-member team would target areas west of the Ross Sea.

The researchers will leave Hobart today.

NZN

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