Humans – Stay away or pay lots of $ $
Australian officials warned the public to stay away from “Migaloo,” a much-loved hypo-pigmented white humpback whale who has reappeared off the eastern coast of Queensland , Australia. Authorities reminded Migaloo’s followers that no person, boat, sub, airplane, jet ski, fishing line or anyone or any thing of nonnative sealife was allowed near him. The restricted zone for this very unique “special-interest whale” is a 500-meter (1/3 of mile) with authorized aircraft patrolling and enforcing a maximum fine of $13,300 US dollars for any and all violators. Migaloo, meaning “white fella” in one of theAboriginal dialects, is the only all-white humpback ever documented and has built up a loyal following since he was first spotted in 1991.
This special humpback whale is on his way to share his melodic song with some lucky females. Males produce a complex whale song, which lasts for 10 to 20 minutes and is repeated for hours at a time. The purpose of the song is not yet clear, although it appears to have a role in mating.
Humpback whales are found in oceans and seas around the world and usually migrate up to 25,000 kilometers (15,534 miles) each year. Humpbacks feed only in summer, in polar waters, and migrate to tropical or sub-tropical waters to breed and give birth in the winter. During the winter, humpbacks fast and live off their fat reserves. The species’ diet consists mostly of krill and small fish.
Migaloo is an acrobatic animal, often breaching and slapping the water and has entertained many crowds of people over the years. “The whale-watching regulations are there to protect the whales, but also to protect people from these huge, unpredictable mammals,” said state environment minister Kate Jones.
“Adult humpbacks can weigh more than a fully-loaded semi-trailer so you need to stay out of their way.”
As well as two dedicated websites, the animal also inspired Operation Migaloo, an anti-whale hunting campaign by environmental activists which concluded in March 2008.
Excerpts courtesy of http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090630/sc_afp/australiaanimalwhale_20090630161754
Image courtesy of abc.net.au/reslib/200308/r7927_18291.jpg
More images of Migaloo Migaloo.com.au/photos.htm
Videos courtesy of Youtube.com and Oceania project Youtube.com/watch?v=fiZ9-mUDy7E