“The reduction of noise affects whales and dolphins, which use a quiet environment for their communication,” explains biologist Sergio Cipolotti.

The silence of the pandemic attracts whales to the Brazilian coast.

Without the echo of tourist cruises and many cargo ships, which were driven away by the new coronavirus pandemic, the silence of the atlantic ocean attracts a greater number of whales that seek the warmest waters of the Brazilian northeast coast for their reproduction.

“The decrease in the noise of the boats affects cetaceans such as the whales and dolphins, who use a quiet environment for your communication sonora ”, explained to EFEverde the biologist Sergio Cipolotti, operational coordinator of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Projeto Baleia Jubarte, the main one in the country for these mammals.

In 2019, according to data from the NGO, about 20,000 whales passed through the Brazilian coastline to mate, procreate and have their young and with the first sightings, from the beginning of June in Espírito Santo (southeast), that number may increase until October, when the crustaceans must begin their return to Antarctica.

Less movement of people and vessels reduces the risk of hatchlings run over and pollution of the seas.

But silence also contributes to “no interference” with the sounds emitted, for example, of dolphins hunting and the singing of humpback whales in mating, the biologist quoted.

However, the NGO, which has accompanied the arrival of humpback whales in Brazil for 32 years, pointed out that it is still “premature” to quantify the impact of the pandemic, mainly, in the Abrolhos archipelago, the epicenter of the birth and mating of the species.

Other species

“Brazil has a great marine diversity, with more than 46 active species in our ocean. Of a total of ninety migratory species we have half, such as humpback whales that they feed in Antarctica and they reproduce here ”, pointed out Cipolotti.

That silence of the sea, caused by the pandemicIt has also caused other species to be seen these days along the 7,367 kilometers of the extensive Brazilian coastline.

In the past week, a whale-shark, the largest fish in the world with up to 12 meters in length and one of the endangered species, was seen by a group of researchers from the Agronauta Institute and the Brazilian Navy in Ilhabela, an island in the state of Sao Paulo.

Also last week, a young orca whale she had to be sacrificed to avoid her suffering after running aground on the beach of Guarajuba, in Camaçarí, a metropolitan region of Salvador with a picture of infection and severe malnutrition, according to the Aquatic Mammals Institute.

The presence of orcas, a predatory species, not common on the Brazilian coast and their appearance, according to specialists, may be due to the lower maritime traffic that allows their approach to look for food, such as the young of humpbacks.

In May, two balls of Bryde, the least known species of fin whales, were seen in Ilhabela and even crossed the Sao Sebastiao channel, a busy raft crossing that links the continent and the island region, but whose circulation was suspended by COVID-19.

The Agronauta Institute points out that during the pandemic a greater number of dolphins have been seen, including the Franciscan species that is threatened with extinction, and sea ​​turtles on the São Paulo coast.

Studies by the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN) and the Baleias e Golfinhos Project in Rio de Janeiro also pointed out that the intense movement of ships and their noise becomes “Stressful” for the hearing sense of cetaceans, which is quite sensitive.

Less tourism, more sea turtles

The pandemic reduced by half the personnel working within the Baleia Jubarte Project, dedicated to the protection of cetaceans, and the tourism operators associated with the initiative are with the activities suspended.

The Tamar Project, the most important in the country with sea turtles, also had to suspend its action in some places due to the pandemic, such as in the Fernando de Noronha archipelago, where the researchers left the islands to pass quarantines in their cities. originally.

However, the NGO estimates that 24,500 spawning occurred in the season ending in July, 500 more than last year, and more than two million sea turtle hatchlings were born.