Humpback newborn sightings prompt warnings

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Three new humpback calves were spotted at King George Sound this month.
Camera IconThree new humpback calves were spotted at King George Sound this month. Credit: Alexander

Albany ocean-goers are warned to keep their distance from newborn whales, with three humpback calves sighted in King George Sound so far this year.

Marine biologist Kirsty Mary Alexander said it was unusual for humpback whale calves to be found in Albany waters and advised boat users to be extra cautious.

“The main calving ground for these guys is usually up north in the Kimberley but there are four to six tiny newborns sighted each year so it does happen,” she said.

Three new humpback calves were spotted at King George Sound this month.
Camera IconThree new humpback calves were spotted at King George Sound this month. Credit: Alexander

With several newborn calves sighted this month alone, Ms Alexander advised ocean-goers to maintain a 300m distance for the wellbeing of the calves.

It is also illegal for drones to be flown within 1000ft above any cetacean, and permission is required to fly drones above national and marine parks.

“Really the easiest and most important thing people can do is to just slow down and give these animals some distance,” Ms Alexander said.

“Some of the babies, their dorsal fins are bent over and that’s because they used to be curled up inside their mum’s uterus.

“So you know when you see a calf like that, they are very young and it will be best to keep a good distance from them.”

A Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions representative said there had been whale calves reported with propeller injuries off the Exmouth coast last year.

Ms Alexander said sightings of injured whales should be reported to authorities, and people should not attempt to help them.

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