Photo Identification

One of the main aims of ​WhaleTrack Ireland​ is to obtain useful images of individual whales, that facilitate their recognition as individuals, by photographing their unique and naturally occurring permanent markings.

When a humpback whale raises its tail (flukes) it provides an opportunity to photograph its underside (ventral surface). The pattern on the underside is unique to that individual whale and by capturing a good image we should be able to identify the individual whale. These images can be used to track the local short range movements of these whales, and by sharing our images with overseas colleagues, in time, such images could reveal their international movements along migration routes and ultimately their breeding ground.

The Irish Humpback Whale Catalogue received funding support from the Patagonia Grant Aid “Tides Foundation” in 2022.

What sort of images do we want and what sort of equipment will I need?

Photo-id by its nature will almost always take place from boats. Capturing an image of a sometimes fast moving and often non cooperative whale, from a moving platform in a frequently choppy sea and in poor light conditions, is not without its challenges.

Please click here to access our ​Guide to Capturing Useful Images send us your images of humpback, fin or blue whales to at the highest possible resolution JPEGS. If you’ve taken video, it may be possible to take a screen grab of a tail fluke or dorsal fin and to email this to us as a PDF or a GIF file also.

Back to Top