The new birthing season for Western Australia's humpback whales is up and running. These images of a mother and new born calf were taken from The Centre for Whale Research (Western Australia) vessel 'Whalesong.'
Whalesong is a new ice capable vessel recently acquired by CWR (WA) and ironically was operating just offshore from the abandoned whaling station Norwegian Bay towards the southern end of Western Australia's Ningaloo Reef. Just as it was when whalers operated from this station, it is an ideal location to observe humpbacks on both the northern and southern legs of their annual migration.
Most humpback calves are born 1200 km further north in the warmer waters of the Kimberley and scientists are concerned that these births may be occurring too early in the migration cycle and incur high mortalities.
In the last few weeks two calves have had to be euthanised after becoming separated from their mothers in Ningaloo's shallow lagoons. Orcas (killer whales) have attacked and taken two other calves. It's a wild ride for the newborns and a sad end for some.