Humpback visits NZ on route
EASTERN Australian humpbacks are taking the “scenic” route south during spring to their Antarctic feeding grounds, new research has revealed.
And the same applies to their return trip north in winter.
Trish and Wally Franklin, Southern Cross University PhD candidates and directors of The Oceania Project at the Marine Ecology Research Centre have found the whales are travelling between New Zealand's north and south islands via the Cook Strait.
The Franklins have developed a unique method matching photos taken in Hervey Bay in Queensland and New Zealand.
“Previously most people assumed that the humpbacks would travel down the east coast of Australia, past Tasmania, before arriving in Antarctica,” Mr Franklin said.
“It's been quite a revelation to learn eastern Australian humpbacks are in fact using New Zealand waters.
“These migratory patterns have probably been going on for many thousands of years.”
The whale-loving couple have also confirmed that eastern Australian humpbacks are feeding in and around the Balleny Islands in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica.
Their findings will be published soon in the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management.
Nala, a female eastern Australian humpback whale, was photographed near the Balleny Islands in March 1997 and again in Hervey Bay in September 1997.
See more of Nala at www.oceania.org.au/ iwhales/portal/home.php?cat=354
- Nala, a female eastern Australian humpback
- Has been recorded in Hervey Bay on 40 occasions
- Sighted in 12 different years between 1992 and 2010.
- In 10 of those years she was accompanied by new calves