If you're ever hankering to track an animal but don't want to shell out money for expensive electronic transmitters, consider contributing to the Antarctic Humpback Whale Catalogue, a consortium of souls dedicated to following humpbacks. These whales have distinct tail markings, so all you need are photographs of two matching tails to make an identification--and that's exactly how researchers stumbled one whale that swam over 6,000 miles, a mammalian migration record.
The story begins on 7 August 1999, when a female humpback whale smiled for the camera off the coast of Brazil. On September 21, 2001, a whale-watcher near Madagascar happened upon the same whale and captured it with a click. The tail markings reveal that it is the same humpback whale, which puzzles researchers because the over-6,000-mile trek is two times the typical seasonal journey of a whale, not to mention that it's a female; males whales are the ones who normally travel long distances. And since all we have to base this number off of is a starting and ending point, it's possible that she took an indirect path and traveled a great deal more than 6,000 miles. Until scientists put a tracker on this particular whale, you better have your camera ready.