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post #1 of 27 Old 08-18-2008 Thread Starter
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Whale of a problem

From Sky News:

A baby whale lost off the coast of Australia has bonded with a makeshift mum - a 36ft-long yacht.



The whale pictured with its new 'mum'

The humpback calf, which is no more than two months old, has even tried to suckle the vessel.
Rescuers say the whale was spotted off Sydney's northern beaches over the weekend and soon came across the boat.
When it would not detach itself, the yacht was towed into deeper waters and the calf eventually let go, although it continued to swim nearby.
The whale, which is being monitored, appears to be exhausted and rescuers hope it will swim further out to sea in search of its mum or another pod.
National Parks and Wildlife regional manager Chris McIntosh told ABC radio: "The outlook is not good, but we are giving the calf its only option.
"It can't be fed, and in fact we wouldn't know what to feed it."
The annual whale migration is under way off Australia's coast and several have been spotted off Sydney beaches in recent days.
Humpbacks breed every one to three years, with a gestation period lasting up to 12 months.
Scientists believe the mammals can live up to 80 years.
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post #2 of 27 Old 08-18-2008
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Nature is harsh even to its own.
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post #3 of 27 Old 08-18-2008
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When going through the Right Whale habitat on the East Coast, I often wonder while I'm staying 500 feet from them, do they know to stay away from me?

John
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post #4 of 27 Old 08-18-2008
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Having been involved with whales and whale research in Australia for many years I can tell you that they DO know what to feed it but don't want to give it a go because it is too costly and time consuming. Plus if it dies which the odds are it will, there is the bad press.
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post #5 of 27 Old 08-18-2008
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Know nothing about them on a scientific level but they do seem to be very protective of their young.

We were off Sydney a few weeks back (I might have posted something back then) when we were picked up by a humpback cow and her calf. The mother came up from astern and pulled alongside. She stayed there for a few minutes, obviously checking us out, then disappeared. She reappeared a couple of minutes later with calf and they swam alongside us for half an hour or so.

Not a case of us dogging them. They swam around us, underneath us, dropping back astern then coming up the other side , quote wonderful for us that's for sure. When they finally got bored with us they just put the hammer down and disappeared ahead at twice the speed we were doing.

Couple of points however...we were lucky being a fair way out to sea and beyond the normal range of the whale watching boats so it was just us and them. Closer in shore however each pod was surrounded by up to twenty craft. The noise of the engines underwater must have been deafening.

Hopefully the calf will find its mother but I guess the odds are not good. Presumably the mother has met with some misfortune. Not a pleasant thought.

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post #6 of 27 Old 08-19-2008
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Poor little sod is pretty much bucked.

Has returned to Pittwater and attached itself to another boat. It's noted that Barrenjoey entrance is considered too shallow for an adult humpback to enter so it's mother is unlikely to find it and unless they can somehow convince another pod to adopt it, and soon it's unlikely the young fella (or lassie) will make it.

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Last edited by tdw; 08-19-2008 at 09:00 PM.
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post #7 of 27 Old 08-19-2008
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Wombat,
Thanks for the update. Has anyone a NPWS contacted Trevor Long at Seaworld on the Gold Coast? Probably the only bloke who really knows what he's doing when it comes to these things.
Cheers,
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post #8 of 27 Old 08-20-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcvet View Post
Wombat,
Thanks for the update. Has anyone a NPWS contacted Trevor Long at Seaworld on the Gold Coast? Probably the only bloke who really knows what he's doing when it comes to these things.
Cheers,
Marcvet
Someone from SeaWorld is due in Sydney this morning apparently.

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post #9 of 27 Old 08-21-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marcvet View Post
Having been involved with whales and whale research in Australia for many years I can tell you that they DO know what to feed it but don't want to give it a go because it is too costly and time consuming. Plus if it dies which the odds are it will, there is the bad press.
Marcvet
i'm glad to hear you confirm that. I was shocked to think that "nobody" knows what to feed them. That seemed to be a shocking gap in our scientific knowledge.

Besides, seems like generally, milk is milk. All kinds of animals can feed others with their milk. you see dogs serve as surrogates for all kinds of mammals at the zoo. I couldn't buy that "we don't know what they drink" comment..
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post #10 of 27 Old 08-21-2008
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Forgive my ignorance, if it is that, but does that whale look all cut up across the dorsal aspect of his body? Or are many of them like that from dealing and living in the harsh environment they do?
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