Howie Cooke (centre) and Dean Jefferys hold a flag on Main Beach, Byron Bay, for the national Day of Action for Whales on Satur
Howie Cooke (centre) and Dean Jefferys hold a flag on Main Beach, Byron Bay, for the national Day of Action for Whales on Satur

Byron adopts first whale

By HELEN JACK

BYRON BAY has adopted a humpback whale and named her Yumbalehla.

Towns all over the Australian east coast are adopting their own humpback whales, with Port Macquarie and Port Stephens adopting a mother and progeny pair, Magenta and Panda.

Saturday was a national Day of Action to Save the Whales, and organiser Howie Cook said by adopting whales Australians could begin to identify with the animals and apply pressure to stop Japanese whale hunting.

??The idea is spreading internationally as well,?? Mr Cook said.

Last year only eight towns in Australia had adopted a whale, but this year 20 towns had followed suit.

??It also recognises the whales as our ocean kin,?? Mr Cook said.

Mr Cook said whale numbers had failed to recover from their full-scale slaughter decades ago.

??If a matriarch whale is killed a broad spectrum of gene diversity is also taken away,?? he said.

Yumbalehla was a name chosen by Byron Bay??s indigenous Arakwal community and means ??constantly on the move??.

Mr Cook said he hoped that towns who adopted a whale would also initiate sister-city relationships with cities in Japan and by doing so pressure the mayors of those cities to consider stopping the hunt for whales.

The Day of Action also formed part of Byron Bay??s Underwater Festival, which began on Thursday and ended last night.

Whether it be diving or kayaking, identifying the critters that live in the sea or creating art inspired by the sea, the festival aimed to make people more aware of the underwater world. ?? For more information, visit www.underwaterfestival.com.au



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