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Global Whale Tracking with Happywhale

Main Project Information
Presented By Happywhale
Goal Track individual whales and learn their stories.
Task Collect whale sighting data: photos, date/time & location.
Where Global, anywhere on the planet

With your help, Happywhale tracks individual whales throughout our world's oceans. We believe that whale watching guides, naturalists and passengers are vital to our understanding of whales. Scientists can only be in one place at one time; by harnessing the power of millions of whale watching enthusiasts, we can expand our scientific knowledge exponentially.

Our platform empowers whale watchers to photograph whales and tell their stories.

First, review our instructions on how to take whale ID photos. Next, get out there and photograph whales. Last, submit your whale photos at We'll run your images through our ID system built in collaboration with scientists at Cascadia Research Collective and Allied Whale. If we find a match, we'll tell you what we know about your whale. If you are the first Happywhale contributor to see a whale, congratulations! We'll let you know that too.

We welcome you to submit images from past whale sightings. Submitting older photos is a great way to start building your account and will give us valuable historical data on whales.

As each of your whales is spotted around the world, we'll send you updates. You can track your whales on your personal Happywhale page. As our site and functionality grows, you'll be able to stay in touch with team members around the globe. You'll also discover how your data is being used by scientists.

What stories will your photos tell?

How to Join
Social Media
Special Skills Participants need access to a camera and the ability to capture different types of photos, depending on the species of whale.
Ideal Age Group High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Ideal Frequency Just once
Average Time Less than an hour
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity At the beach, In oceans, streams, rivers, lakes, While fishing
Training Materials
Media Mentions
and Publications
Tags animal, animals, biology, cetacean, citizen science, conservation, dolphin, ecology & environment, fin, fin whale, gps, humpback, humpbacks, identification, killer whale, mammal, mammals, map, mapping, marine mammal, marine mammalogy, migration, minke, minke whale, nature & outdoors, non-invasive, ocean, ocean-dwelling, oceans, orca, orcas, photo, photography, photo id, photo identification, rescue, research, sea, sea animal, sea mammal, stories, story, storytelling, stranding, track, tracking, underwater, whale, whale biology, whale migration, whales, whale tracking, whale watch, whale watching, wildlife
Project Updated 05/23/2018