Thursday, 10 October 2013

DNA Tests Unlock Secrets of Mysterious Bryde's Whales

The poorly understood Bryde's whale presents a conservation conundrum for biologists, but genetic fingerprints could finally help researchers keep tabs on the species and protect vulnerable populations.

Bryde's whales (pronounced BREW-dus) are listed as "data deficient" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the world's main authority for the conservation status of wildlife.

The 50-foot-long (15 meters) whales seem to be widespread; they can be found in tropical, subtropical, and warm temperate waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. But little is known about the distribution of their populations, their range, and their subspecies, which makes it difficult for scientists to determine whether they might be endangered by ship strikes, Japan's scientific whaling fleets or other environmental threats, according to the Wildlife Conservation Society. 

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