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Whales

Throughout the year nine species of whale visit Moreton Bay Marine Park. Species include the Humpback, Killer, Southern Right, Sperm and Minke whales.

Humpback whale mother and calf. Photo courtesy of Trish and Wally Franklin.Whales share the Order Cetacae with dolphins, and are warm blooded air breathing mammals just like us! The most common whale sighting in Moreton Bay is the beloved humpback whale. Humpback whales visit Moreton Bay Marine Park every winter and spring when migrating between their Antarctic feeding grounds and their sub-tropical breeding grounds.

Humpback whales were almost hunted to extinction earlier this century with whaling stations in New Zealand and Australia killing tens of thousands of humpbacks during their migrations. Between 1952 – 1962 Moreton Bay even had its own whaling station – the Tangalooma Whaling Station – which operated 24hours a day and processed 600 whales per year. Boats even brought tourists to the station to watch landed whales be flensed!

Prior to commercial whaling 25,000 individual whales migrated along the east coast of Australia. By the early 1960’s it is believed that numbers declined to as few as 100 individuals. Since then Humpback numbers have steadily increased and in 2010 it was estimated that numbers were around 14,500 individuals.

Threats

The biggest threat to whales in Moreton Bay is entanglement in fishing nets or shark nets. Nets can cause very nasty wounds and in some cases kill the whale if it is caught and can't get to the surface to breathe.

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