Posted by: Colin Battersby | July 2, 2010

It’s peak hour on humpback highway


IT is peak hour on the humpback highway.The giant mammals are streaming along the south-east Queensland coast as never before, heading north to mate.

Researchers surveying whale numbers from North Stradbroke Island’s Point Lookout say they are witnessing record numbers, and Australia Zoo’s Whale One skipper Shane Matterson said whales off the Sunshine Coast were putting on a brilliant show.

“We’ve seen some spectacular breaches and plenty of fin slapping, which is great to see,” he said.“We see both males and females breaching for a number of reasons. But, when it comes to mating rituals, breaches can occur to try to impress each other or intimidate competition.”

Mr Matterson said consistent numbers of humpbacks were streaming past the Coast and he expected great pulses of whales in coming weeks.“We’re so sure that this season is going to be a ripper,” he said.

University of Queensland’s Michael Noad, who heads the East Coast Australian Humpback Whale Population survey, said about 100 whales a day were passing through.“In the last survey in 2007 the whale numbers weren’t as big. The biggest day was 130 whales with 70 whales a day the average,” he said.

Dr Noad said he expected 13,000 humpbacks in Queensland waters this year, an 11% increase on 2007 figures.

via It’s peak hour on humpback highway | Sunshine Coast News | Local News in Sunshine Coast | The Sunshine Coast Daily.

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