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’



Nine males, one female; divers watch turtles get frisky

Mating season ends this month.

One female, nine males, this is all part of nature for turtles

Hervey Bay to be home to some of hockey's Masters

HOME OF THE MASTERS: Hervey Bay Hockey Association, pictured celebrating their Association of the Year trophy, will host the Over-60s Men's carnival next year.

Hervey Bay will host the over-60s men's masters in 2017.

OPINION: I'm not a fan, but I see why many support Pauline

Profile - Eliza Wheeler. Photo: Alistair Brightman / Fraser Coast Chronicle

The region feels disgruntled and neglected.

Local Partners

WATCH: Justin Bieber grabbed in Germany

A video has emerged of singer Justin Bieber being attacked

Why The Wrong Girl is right for Jessica Marais

Jessica Marais and Ian Meadows in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

ACTOR makes the sometimes awkward character her own in new comedy.

What's on the small screen this week

Jessica Marais in a scene from the TV series The Wrong Girl.

A NEW romantic comedy debuts while footy codes ramp up for finals.

Airbourne talk drop bears, beer and taxes

Airbourne have a new album coming out and a new tour on the way.  Photo Contributed

Airbourne release album for the aussie battler

Pippa Middleton had 3000 private photos stolen

Author Pippa Middleton

Author's account hacked to access 3000 private photos

Gruen star discovers the body's limits in new hit TV show

Todd Sampson tries out MMA fighting during TV series BodyHack.

Gruen star pushes the limits in new TV series

Property leader says Fraser Coast market is looking up

Positivity is the buzz word in the Fraser Coast housing market

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state