Australia bracing for whale baby boom
Saturday 24 September 2011
More baby whales are expected to migrate down Australia's east coast than have been seen in 50 years after indications of a bumper birthing season, wildlife experts said Friday.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service in New South Wales state said a large number of whales with newborn calves were set to swim past Sydney towards the cooler waters of Antarctica between September and November.
More than 1,000 whales were spotted passing Sydney's Cape Solander in June alone as the creatures made their way up to the warmer northern waters of Queensland state to breed.
Ross said volunteer whale spotters at Sydney's Botany Bay logged a 17 percent increase in whales migrating north, while whale-watching vessels were noting more calves making the trip back south.
"Certainly the indications are that we saw more whales at Cape Solander this year than in previous years. And that certainly augurs well for a good reproductive season," the service's Geoff Ross said.
"And we are getting a lot of anecdotal reports from skippers and our own staff in the field that there are lots of baby whales out there."
Ross said the numbers of humpback and southern right whales visiting waters off Australia's east coast were gradually growing back to levels not seen since the end of commercial whaling in New South Wales in the 1960s.
"What we are seeing is the result of a growing population of humpbacks and southern right whales," Ross said.
"So it's taken a long time for the humpbacks on the east coast to recover. The east coast humpbacks were heavily hunted. Humpbacks were hunted to very, very low levels, southern rights almost to the point of extinction.
"Gradually, over the years, those numbers are starting to claw back."
Ross, who praised state and federal government conservation work in protecting the massive creatures, said the baby humpbacks would typically be five to six metres (16 to 20 feet) long and weigh 20 to 30 tonnes.
Kielder Forest considered as site for return of wild lynx to the UK after 1,300 year absence
Frilled shark: Australian fishermen capture terrifying shark from the deep
My DIY beauty brand: Home-made cosmetics
Humanity's 'inexorable' population growth is so rapid that even a global catastrophe would not stop it
The ugliest animals on earth: Blobfish, axolotl and proboscis monkey battle it out to be named least attractive beast
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...