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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Has Migaloo returned to Whitsundays?

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A TOURIST flying over the Whitsundays has captured footage of a rare white whale swimming in the Coral Sea, with many left speculating – Is it Migaloo?

Migaloo is an albino humpback whale that was first spotted in Australian waters, on June 28, 1991, while passing through Byron Bay, New South Wales.  

At the time, this rare whale was the only documented all-white humpback whale in the world.

It was named ‘Migaloo’, which is the name the Australian Aboriginal community in Queensland use to describe a ‘White Fella.’

Migaloo has provided whale researchers with a vast amount of knowledge on the behavioural patterns of whales.

Over many consecutive years, Migaloo has been spotted travelling with another male humpback whale known as ‘Milo’.

Milo is easy to spot because of his distinctive pigmentation pattern and, before this, it was not known that humpback males travelled with companions throughout their migrations.

Olivia Brodhurst from Whitsunday Environmental, who is working towards achieving whale heritage accreditation for the Whitsundays, said while the footage wasn’t clear enough to distinctly identify Migaloo, it was still important to note how significant it was  

“We can see definitely that it is a whale, because you can see the really big pectoral fins, and it’s definitely white. Is it Migaloo? Is it an offspring calf? I don’t know, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly but it’s exciting,” she said.

“It’s obviously a white whale, which sort of narrows it down because there’s not many of those around.

“There is a special declaration for white whales, so we do have things in place to protect them.

“You do have to stay 500 metres away from a white while, rather than 300 metres for a normal humpback whale, because they are so rare.”

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