Why Do Humpbacks Migrate North?

Why do Humpbacks migrate north? A question that has a very important answer for the Western Australia Humpback Whale population, they travel north for the survival of the next generation. Humpbacks came to the brink of extinction after many years of prolific whaling and by the early 1960’s as few as two hundred Humpbacks remained in the WA population. The future was uncertain and if it was not for the dedication these whales show towards the northern migration and reaching suitably warm nursery grounds, the next generation of Humpback Whale calves simply wouldn’t survive. The population has skyrocketed over the last fifty years and we now have over forty five thousand Humpbacks who call WA waters home. This season is just like any other as thousands of whales make the long and disciplined track north, the same journey this population has been making for hundreds of years.

Today we had the company of two enormous adults who were 100% focused on the job at hand, navigating safely through Flinders Bay and continuing the trip north. One individual in particular was enormous as she lifted her 4+ meter wide flukes in a graceful dive as her male escort followed right alongside. The last of the WA Humpback population are bringing up the tail end of the northern migration as these last few weeks will see half of the epic season completed and the best is yet to come. Newborn calves are growing at an extraordinary rate further north in the suitably warm waters, males are still searching high and low along the coastline to find a female to impress and certain females are falling pregnant. These mums to be will have a gestation of 10-11 months so the clock is ticking for them to start feeding up in preparation for next year and these females along with immature juveniles and yearlings will be some of the first to begin the southern Humpback migration back to the summer fridge of Antarctica.

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