Saving the whales? Now there's an app for that, too.

An interesting new iOS app launched today called Whale Alert. Though it's available for anyone, the iPhone/iPad app is intended primarily for use by workers in the shipping and maritime industry. It "combines science and technology to help save critically endangered North Atlantic right whales by reducing threats of collisions with large ships along the East Coast of North America."

From the launch announcement by IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare):

The app links the bridge of a ship to the latest data about right whale detections and informs users when their vessels enter right whale management areas. The app uses Global Positioning System (GPS), Automatic Identification System (AIS), the web and digital nautical chart technologies to alert mariners to NOAA’s right whale conservation measures that are active in their immediate vicinity. A key feature of Whale Alert is a display linking a system of near real-time acoustic buoys that listen for right whale calls to an iPad on a ship’s bridge showing the whale’s presence to captains transiting the shipping lanes. In a matter of seconds the ships position is updated on the iPad in relation to any endangered right whales in the shipping lanes allowing the ship to safely slow down and navigate around the whale.

North Atlantic right whales, which live along North America's east coast from Newfoundland to Florida, are one of the world’s rarest large animals and a species on the brink of extinction. So few exist -- about 450 -- that scientists have identified and named almost all of them. Collision with ships is a leading cause of right whale death.

Link to Whale Alert at the Apple App Store. More about the project at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) website.

More app screenshots below, along with a shot of the beautiful and endangered cetacean they're trying to save.


  1. If the whale’s have names it would sure be nice if the app could show the name…at least for whale’s that have been tagged. I imagine if I were a ship captain and I saw that I was about to run into a whale named, say, Eustace and that if I did there would no longer be a whale named Eustace and whoever named him Eustace would find out that Eustace was no more….I’d probably be more likely to take inconvenient steps to avoid poor Eustace.

  2. For people who  aren’t usually at sea but like whales and want to help marine researchers, check out  It’s a citizen science initiative in which you get to listen to recordings of whale songs and help researchers categorize them by similarity.

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