Nala’s calf, which has been named Akuna, breaches during playtime offshore.
Nala’s calf, which has been named Akuna, breaches during playtime offshore. Tasman Venture

Whale naming competition heats up

NALA, the Fraser Coast's mother humpback, has produced a lively offspring in 2012, with the unnamed calf breaching and dancing in waters off Hervey Bay throughout the last school holiday week.

Calls from whalewatching vessel Tasman Venture and Oceania Project researchers Wally and Trish Franklin last week went out to Chronicle readers in a push to name the newborn and help ensure a longstanding tradition continues.

Nala was first spotted in the region in 1992, making her Hervey Bay's longest-standing recorded whale visitor, and the most recent sighting of a juvenile is the 10th time the mum has been seen with a calf.

Locals have named each of her previous offspring in an acknowledgement of the significance of her visits, and in keeping with custom, are asked to think of a local indigenous name the new youngster can be given.

Vicki Neville, from Tasman Venture, said there was a magical prize on offer for the person who came up with the best name.

"We would be keen to offer a whalewatch trip for two adults on board Tasman Venture for this 2012 whalewatch season," Ms Neville said. "Wally, our researcher, is keen to follow the trend with a local aboriginal name - we don't know the sex of the calf yet so it will need to be a unisex name."

When Nala last visited in 2010, her calf was given the indigenous title Mirrhi, which translates to little girl.

Suggestions can be sent to mitch.crawley@frasercoastchronicle.com.au. An announcement will be made on Friday, October 12, in the Chronicle.



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