Humpback Whale Photo ID

Each humpback whale's tail fin has unique markings. Nuup Kangerlua, 2008. Photo: Tenna Boye
Flukes of humpback whales have indiviual pattterns. Nuuk fjord 2008. Photo: Tenna boye
No two tail fins are alike. Photo: Carsten Egevang
Not two are alike.  Nuuk fjord 2004. Photo: Carsten Egevang

Pinngortitaleriffik is looking for photos of the underside of humpback whale tail fins for a research project.

The underside of a humpback whale's tail fin is unique, just like a human fingerprint, and can be used to identify individual whales. Pinngortitaleriffik is compiling a catalogue of humpback whales that visit Greenlandic waters. We are studying, for instance, whether the same whales return to certain regions in Greenland year after year. The study requires as many photos of humpback whale tail fins as possible from all over Greenland.

Please send us your photos of humpback whales along with the following information:

  • When the picture was taken – date
  • Where (location/area)
  • Exact position -- if you have that information
  • Your name, address and phone number

All photographs, including old negatives, can be used. The photographs will only be used for research purposes. Photographs, including the time and location can be e-mailed to or sent by post to:

Tenna Boye / Malene Simon
Pinngortitaleriffik - Greenlandic Institute of Natural Resources
P.O. Box 570
3900 Nuuk

Attn. "humpback whale ID project"

We will respond with information on the whale.

More on the ID project:

Report by NuukTV, Wednesday, 13 June 2012 – researchers identify whales

"There are a total of 3,000 humpback whales in western Greenland, but how many of them use the Nuuk Fjord as their feeding grounds? The Greenlandic Institute of Natural Resources is determined to find out … and we went along to film them." (Report in Danish without subtitles)

Updated 06.06.2019