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Cheynes Beach: Rare white Southern Right whale spotted with calf off WA coast

The West Australian
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VideoRescuers are racing against the clock to save 45 pilot whales who've survived a mass stranding off the WA South Coast.

Just two weeks ago, Albany’s Cheynes Beach was the site of a mass whale tragedy.

But now local whale researchers have been overjoyed at the sight of a rare white Southern Right calf off the coast.

Little White Whale Project spokeswoman Lisa-Maree Ellett said the calf was one of two identified by the group in recent days in the area.

“While we did see the unfortunate thing happen with the pilot whales — we are really blessed down here that this is somewhere the Southern Rights call their home to nurse their babies and mate,” she said.

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“The other positive is there is the opportunity to go to Cheynes Beach to be able to see these Southern Rights because they come so close to shore.

“It is easy to see by standing on headlands or with binoculars as they come in quite close to shore. It’s a good way to see them close without causing them stress.”

The rare calf, captured by Albany photographer Jenelle Smith on Saturday, can be seen with its mother in what Ms Ellett described as an important nursery area for the species.

Southern Right Whales and their babies pictured at Cheynes Beach.
Camera IconSouthern Right Whales and their babies pictured at Cheynes Beach. Credit: jenellesmithphotography/Instagram

Cheynes Beach Caravan Park owner Joanne Marsh said after witnessing the deaths of almost 100 pilot whales at the end of July, the calf was a morale boost for the region.

The incredible pictures were captured just weeks after a devastating mass beaching of pilot whales in the same area.
Camera IconThe incredible pictures were captured just weeks after a devastating mass beaching of pilot whales in the same area. Credit: jenellesmithphotography/Instagram

“After the tragic events of the pilot whales, having the whales here now just reinforces the beauty of the whales in their environment,” she said.

The area is an important nursery area for whales.
Camera IconThe area is an important nursery area for whales. Credit: jenellesmithphotography/Instagram

“Some of the positives are that Cheynes Beach is a well-known area for the Southern Right whales to breed. Southern White mums have their babies here every season.

Little White Whale Project spokeswoman Lisa-Maree Ellett said the calf was one of two identified by the group in recent days in the area. 
Camera IconLittle White Whale Project spokeswoman Lisa-Maree Ellett said the calf was one of two identified by the group in recent days in the area.  Credit: jenellesmithphotography/Instagram

“They are literally only 100 metres off the beach — they’re here all the time. We see them every day.”

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