Do Humpbacks Mate For Life?

Do Humpbacks Mate For Life? The short answer is no, Humpback Whales do not mate for life but instead look for a new mate every breeding season. A female Humpback Whale will usually have one calf every 2-3 years and when it is time to fall pregnant she will be on the lookout for the most suitable male to be the father of her next calf. Only the strongest, healthiest and smartest males tend to catch the eye of the female Humpbacks but the males must still compete for the attention of the female. The females wont be looking to mate every season, but the male Humpbacks in the population are and generally there are many more males looking to mate than females each breeding season. The southbound journey is also an opportunity for males to find a female who, although she has a calf with her this season, may look to mate this year also and have a calf next season as as gestation is only 10-11 months and her current calf weaned at 12 months.

Today we came across one of these likely situations as a protective male escort swam alongside a mature female and her young calf. He will be ever hopeful that this female will be looking to mate with him at some point in their journey together, but for now her focus was purely on her young calf and safely swimming past Rottnest Island. It was a fascinatingly quiet morning in comparison to previous mornings over the last couple of weeks and although a total of four pods were sighted, the low profile appeared to indicate possible predation in the area. Did the Rottnest Island Orca pod make an earlier morning appearance in the area? It is difficult to determine exactly but the whales were focused on not drawing attention towards themselves. The morning was absolutely beautiful with calm sea, blue skies, friendly Bottlenose Dolphins and actively feeding seabirds who were filling their stomachs full with delicious pilchards in a very special part of Western Australia.

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