Resighting of a Narwhal (<i>Monodon monoceros</i>) Instrumented with a Satellite Transmitter

  • M.P. Heide-Jørgensen
  • R. Dietz
  • K.L. Laidre
  • P. Nicklen
  • E. Garde
  • P. Richard
  • J. Orr
Keywords: narwhal, Monodon monoceros, satellite transmitter, resighting, Arctic, age, growth, tusk

Abstract

On 9 August 2001, a male narwhal (Monodon monoceros) was instrumented with a satellite transmitter attached to the dorsal side of the tusk in Creswell Bay on Somerset Island in the Canadian High Arctic. The whale was identified five years later, on 22 June 2006, in a photo of a group of narwhals taken from the ice edge in Lancaster Sound. Examination of the position of the transmitter on the tusk showed that the tusk had grown approximately 17 cm in the five-year period. The transmitter was still located on the dorsal side of the tusk and this fact, together with the length of spiral grains at the position of the tag, indicates that the tusk had not turned over (rotated) in the five-year period. The whale was photographed on its spring migration back to the original summer ground where it had been tagged. This resighting confirms evidence for site fidelity of narwhals, as the individual maintained the same migratory schedule and route observed for narwhals from previous satellite tracking studies in Creswell Bay.
Published
2009-08-28