News

Bay's a social hub for whales

TAILS TO TELL: A female humpback calf enjoys some tail-slapping in Hervey Bay this year.
TAILS TO TELL: A female humpback calf enjoys some tail-slapping in Hervey Bay this year. Daniel Tweed

A NEW study has provided fresh evidence of the importance of Hervey Bay as a social hub for humpback whales.

The study is part of a long-term research program looking at the social behaviour and organisation of humpback whales, undertaken by Trish and Wally Franklin, the directors of the Oceania Project.

Principal investigator Trish Franklin said the work, to be published in the journal Marine Mammal Science, revealed significant changes in the composition of humpback whale pods during migration.

“It’s not until early September that the main flow of mothers with older calves commences and towards the end of the season, during October and November, mother-calf pods dominate the migration, along with male escorts,” Ms Franklin said.

A surprising finding was mothers with calves in the Bay spend most of their time alone with their calf involved in maternal care.

“When they do socialise, they are more likely to join with other pods which include a mother and calf,” she said.

“This differs greatly from other humpback whale areas, such as Hawaii, where mother-calf pods are usually accompanied by one or more male escorts and rarely are mother-calf pods reported mixing with other mothers and calves.

“In Hervey Bay, only one in 10 mother-calf pods attract one or more male escorts.”

Ms Franklin said over the 14 years of the study from 1992 to 2005 there was a significant increase in larger pods, with three or more humpback whales.

“This is likely to be related to changes in the behaviour of humpback whales as the numbers and density of whales in Hervey Bay increased from approximately 2000 humpback whales in 1992, to around 7000 in 2005,” she said.

Sheltered Hervey Bay, formed by Fraser Island, is conveniently just west of the main migratory pathway and is easily accessible to the whales as they move south from their Great Barrier Reef breeding grounds.

“Geographically this is completely different to areas used by humpback whales in the northern hemisphere, such as Hawaii and the West Indies, where there is only open ocean between the breeding grounds and feeding areas,” Mr Franklin said.

“The combination of the variety of humpback whale social behaviour that occurs as different social groups visit the Bay, and its geography, is why Hervey Bay has become known as a unique whale-watch destination.”

“No matter what time of the season you visit the Bay to see humpback whales, you can expect to observe and experience something different.”

‘No matter what time of the season you visit the Bay to see humpback whales, you can expect to observe and experience something different’




Approaching whales in Strait will cost you: EHP

The maximum penalty for intentionally moving too close to a whale is $20,113.50 or an on-the-spot fine of $609.

Migaloo and other white whales have special protection

ALDI build begins in Urangan

OPENING SOON: Aldi in Maryborough Street opens on Wednesday 3 August.

Jobseekers are urged to get their resumes ready for a new store.

No need to inform public about brumbies on Fraser: QPWS

A brumby on Fraser Island.

The spokeswoman said public did not need to be concerned.

Latest deals and offers

#SaveMarinaJoyce: How ISIS theory took over youtube channel

One young Youtuber accidentally gave rise to a conspiracy theory

Talking whiskey with Jack Daniel’s master distiller

It all comes down to the distillery

SIXTY MILES AHEAD sign with Eclipse Records, prepare new album 'Insanity'

Sixty Miles Ahead sign with Eclipse. Photo Contributed

Sixty Miles Ahead to release new album on Eclipse

Thy Art Is Murder are killing it

See Thy Art is Murder on their killer tour happening right now. Photo Contributed

We talk with Thy Art is Murder about touring, babies, and new music

Date announced for Prince tribute concert

A Prince tribute concert will take place later this year

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Queensland's $1 town goes under the hammer today

The township of Yelarbon is up for sale.

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles