Protective Mother Humpback Whale


A protective mother Humpback Whale is one of the reasons why our WA Humpback population has grown from near extinction to the largest on the planet today. The nurturing and protective instincts provide newborn calves with the highest chance of survival as their mums escort them down the coastline safely. Today our first interaction was with a very young whale, appearing to be a yearling and recently separated from mum. It is unusual to sight a yearling this late in the season, they are normally some of the first individuals to make the migration back south in September. Perhaps this yearling had been born later in season 2018 which resulted in his separation from mum being postponed by a few extra weeks compared to everyone else. Curious and shy, he seemed to observe us carefully as he kept a low profile and continued on his journey towards Rottnest Island. 

Surface activity began further ahead as a mother Humpback Whale began to breach and head lunge. Arriving in the area we watched carefully for the next resurfacing, looking to our port side we could sight mother and calf swimming towards us. Unfortunately, a second vessel in the vicinity moved at speed towards the mother Humpback and calf which resulted in a defensive and powerful tail lob from the female. Although spectacular to witness, it was an example of influencing behaviour rather than observing behaviour. As whale watchers we have a great responsibility to move correctly with the whales we interact with and understand their language. A mother Humpback should not need to ever exert any unnecessary energy in surface activity caused by aggressive vessel movement. A protective mother Humpback Whale will go to all lengths to ensure her calf is kept safe and we must appreciate that and ensure we do all we can to enjoy their company, but not influence their behaviour.

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4 thoughts on “Protective Mother Humpback Whale”

  1. Hi Gang at Whalewatch W A
    We thoroughly enjoyed today’s run out of Fremantle
    Your team are very professional in the way you are conducting the tours and all of us totally enjoyed
    the commentary and explanation of the various aspects of Humpback Whale behavior
    Please pass on our thanks to the whole crew and thanks for the great pics on today.s Daily Whale
    Kind Regards
    Colin Weston

    1. Whale Watch Western Australia

      Thankyou Colin, We appreciate the lovely review and hope to have you back onboard very soon,
      Kind Regards
      Whale Watch WA

  2. Hi Whale Watch WA crew,
    It was a fabulous and educational outing for us yesterday! Thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Thank you for everything, we learnt a lot. Will definitely be planning visits to WA in the future to coincide with the Orca and Blue Whale season and join your crew for the experience.
    Thank you for the photos too, was too fascinated to even bother with the camera!

    Warm regards.

  3. Whale Watch Western Australia

    Thank you Iz and it makes our day knowing you learnt so much, it is what we strive for and wonderful to know you now have a better understanding and are fluent in the Language of the Whales! Looking forward to further adventures together, safest of travel till then 🙂

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