My Auntie is a whale we encountered for the first time during our 1994 research expedition.
She is with young males and is demonstrating typical courting behavior. Tail slapping is a normal interaction between a female and the males accompanying her in what is known as a 'competitive group'. We have documented the appearance of five of My Auntie's calves since 1994. We suspected that she was about to conceive after this episode of courtship in 2001.
She returned in 2002 and nudged her newborn calf delicately toward the research vessel. Females are larger and more powerful than males and seem to direct and organize the social structure within the population.
Established in 1988, The Oceania Project is an independent, non-profit research organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and the oceans.
The first phase of a long-term study of the East Australian Humpback Whales has been the major work of The Oceania Project.
From an original population of over 60,000, the East Australian Humpback Whales were hunted to the brink of extinction. They were saved only by the collapse of the whaling industry when less than 100 whales remained.
In what can be appreciated as a wonderful symbol of an enlightened human desire to restore balance to this fragile planet after centuries of ignorant exploitation, the East Australian Humpback Whales have been allowed to recover to an estimated population of over 10,000.
When ecosystems across the planet are collapsing and species are becoming extinct at an accelerating rate, the East Australian Humpback Whales are making a remarkable recovery.
They have become Australia's national treasure and a symbol of hope for our imperiled environment.
タグ: humpback whale dolphin cetacea research oceania iwhales migaloo