Thar she blows!
Whale watchers have spotted a rare, white humpback — one of only four in the world — swimming between New Zealand’s two main islands.
In fact, the annual whale survey shows that whale sightings are at a record high, 136, the largest number of humpbacks ever recorded during 12 years of the annual census.
The leader of the whale research team, Nadine Bott, says it’s a sign the New Zealand whale population is “bouncing back.”
The rare white whale that’s been spotted recently is believed to be “Migaloo,” an aboriginal word meaning “White Fellow.” The whale was first discovered off the Australia’s Gold Coast in 1991 and has returned there almost every year since. It’s the first time he’s been sighted in New Zealand.
Migaloo is thought to have fathered two white calves, and a fourth white humpback was spotted earlier this year in Norway.
Whale watchers also spotted a newborn humpback Tuesday, only the second baby ever reported in New Zealand waters. Bott said the baby was probably less than a week old.
As for the folks doing the “watching,” they are actually whalers and descendents of families forced by New Zealand law to stop the practice. Last century they were harvesting the mammals–now they are helping to save them.
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