March 3, 2015 3:37 pm
Updated: March 4, 2015 3:58 pm

Help find 52-Hertz, dubbed the loneliest whale in the world


WATCH ABOVE: Josh Zeman talks to Global News’ BC1’s Sonia Sunger

VANCOUVER – The story of 52-Hertz, named the “loneliest whale in the world”, has captivated people everywhere.

Believed to be a hybrid whale, a cross between a blue and a fin whale, 52-Hertz is named due to the unusual frequency of his voice. Most whales communicate with each other at lower frequencies, but 52-Hertz is on a frequency all his own.

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Scientists believe he has been swimming in the ocean alone for decades, calling out for other whales to answer him, and getting no response.

He has been heard off the coast of British Columbia and the United States and migrates from Alaska to Mexico, but he’s never been seen. Now a documentary filmmaker and a Hollywood actor want to make a movie about the quest to find 52-Hertz.

Filmmaker Josh Zeman, actor Adrian Grenier and producer Lucy Cooper with AllDayEveryDay, are joining forces with a number of scientists to find 52-Hertz and bring awareness to ocean noise pollution.

Zeman first heard about the story of the lonely whale after he had just gone through a breakup and was feeling lonely himself.

“I was immediately moved, so much so,” he said.

“I was just fascinated and completely moved by the story of this whale that swam through the oceans, calling out at a frequency that no other whale can hear and he’s been doing it for decades. Always calling out, hoping to get some kind of response and never getting one, which is why we use the nickname the loneliest whale in the world.”

After learning other artists have also been inspired by the story of the whale, Zeman knew this was going to be a personal quest. “Online I just found this amazing community with all these different people who were creating works of art, like poetry, paintings, songs, memes, all these different things about the whale and that’s when I realized there’s an amazing story to be told,” he said.

The loneliest whale in the world has inspired articles, stories, songs, pieces of art and numerous Twitter accounts.

Zeman said the story of 52-Hertz is something that can resonate in everyone.

“At the end of the day, I guess, it was about empathy and the fact that all these people shared this empathetic feeling towards the loneliest whale, because of course, it’s our greatest fear,” he said. “It’s our existential crisis. We’re going to die alone.”

“The story of this other species was able to create such a response and such a dramatic response in our own species.”

Zeman and Grenier have set up a Kickstarter account, with the hopes of raising $300,000 to fund an exhibition to find 52-Hertz. They will cover 400 miles in 20 days with the hopes of being the first expedition to acoustically monitor a hybrid whale using non-invasive tags. They will also be collecting data to help scientists measure the growing threat of ocean noise pollution.

The result will be a documentary film.

“We know that whales really are these social creatures and so it’s also about exploring that middle ground between science and emotion,” said Zeman. “And trying to bring science and emotion together because that’s how we need to look at the earth.”

“It is about science, but it’s also about caring.”

Zeman said they know it is not their place to interfere with 52-Hertz or try to introduce him to a pod, and they know they might never find him.

“Trying to find one single whale is like trying to find the needle in the largest haystack,” he said.

“We do know it’s a whale. We’ve been tracking it for 12 years, we know how it moves, we follow its migration patterns, the navy has tracked it, it moves in somewhat similar ways to other whales, but then it also moves kind of differently, as if it’s not quite sure what to do.”

“And that’s most likely because it’s not able to communicate with other pods.”

To donate to the Kickstarter campaign to help make the movie, go to their website.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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