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Sydney readies a quiet welcome for migrating whale and her calf

Sydney Harbour could be the temporary home to two very rare Southern Right whales, as a mother and her newborn calf nurse ahead of their treacherous journey to the Antarctic.

The NSW Parks and Wildlife Service first spotted the pair on July 27 in Coffs Harbour and have been tracking them as they made their way down the coast.

Park ranger Andy Marshall said the calf was born about two days before the sighting and had been resting and nursing at Coffs Harbour, Scott’s Head, Port Macquarie, Forster, Port Stephens, and Swansea along NSW’s north coast.

“Continuing their current trajectory, we expect the pair to reach Sydney sometime this weekend,” Mr Marshall said.

Quiet, undisturbed time in shallow, sandy bottom bays and protected beaches is a critical stage in Southern Right Whale calf development.

Park authorities are asking the public to keep a distance as the calf nurses, consuming about 300 litres of milk per day to gain the strength before the pair embarks on a long and treacherous voyage towards the Antarctic.

“The biggest threat to the survival of Southern Right Whales in NSW waters is disturbance from people getting too close,” Mr Marshall said.

Any disturbance to the whales not only compromises a calf’s ability to nurse and develop, but it can also drive them out into deeper waters, where they are exposed to predation by orcas and sharks, the ranger said.

NSW wildlife rangers will be on the water over the weekend to monitor the whales and ensure they remain undisturbed by the public.

Southern Right Whales are an endangered species, with fewer than 270 in the south-east Australian population.

This calf is one of only two recorded in NSW this year.


https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/state/nsw/sydney/2023/08/19/sydeny-whales-quiet-welcome/ Sydney readies a quiet welcome for migrating whale and her calf

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