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Reporting from McCall – here are some of the stories you wanted told.

The Search For ‘The Loneliest Whale’

Because whales only appear on the surface briefly, scientists must rely on underwater sounds to track the marine mammals.
Because whales only appear on the surface briefly, scientists must rely on underwater sounds to track the marine mammals.

Decades ago, the Navy’s underwater microphones picked up a unique frequency: a single whale emitting its call at 52 hertz. Surrounded by whales whose registers fell below, the creature became known as “the loneliest whale” and caught the attention of the public. K-pop band BTS even wrote a song about it.

52 caught the attention of filmmaker Josh Zeman, too. Along with marine scientists, he staged an expedition to try to track the whale down and get some answers. Was 52 even still alive? Why did 52 emit a frequency different than other whales? And was the whale really as “lonely” as the public believed it to be?

Scientists warned Zeman that finding the 52-hertz whale would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. We talk to him as well as an expert in ocean acoustics about their search and why it matters.

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