Thursday, July 9, 2015

Migaloo or Moby Dick?

A rare white humpback whale has been spotted in Cook Strait!
The oddity was spotted with a black humpback last Sunday, during Dept.of Conservation's 12th annual Cook Strait whale survey.
The two contrasting humpback whales were spotted by former whaler Ted Perano and left researchers stunned.
Features on the whale are similar to those on one known as Migaloo. They include the dorsal fin's distinctive shape and also distinctive spiny protuberances behind the dorsal fin.
Migaloo (which is Aboriginal for "white fella"), has been seen off eastern Australia almost every year since 1991. A skin sample, taken from this whale with a biopsy dart, will be compared with Migaloo's DNA to confirm whether it is the same whale.
...or Moby Dick?
White humpbacks are extremely rare and only four have been reported in the world. Migaloo is the most famous and is believed to have fathered two white calves. Another white humpback whale was spotted off Norway in 2012.
The annual whale survey is to assess humpback whale recovery since commercial whaling ended in the Cook Strait 50 years ago. It is timed for humpback whales' northern migration to South Pacific breeding grounds, and estimates the size of the humpback population.
This year's 4wk survey ends this Friday, and has counted 122 humpback whales, far more than the previous-highest tally of 106 humpbacks in 2012.

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