21 July 2014
Humpbacks Are Back In Fiji!
Cara Miller, who works for WDC in the Pacific Islands, has recently reported that a number of humpback whales are again being seen in Fijian waters – it looks like it's humpback whale season in the Pacific Islands!
Humpback whales are migratory mammals which means they swim to different places at different times of the year. Certain species of whale migrate huge distances, and the humpback whales spotted near Fiji are no exception, believing to have swum all the way from the Antarctic!
But why swim all that way? The answer lies in the environmental conditions; the lovely warm waters surrounding the Pacific Islands in the winter are the perfect place for humpback whales to raise their calves. Humpback whales are not seen in Fijian waters until July and, once they arrive, will stay there until about October, breeding and raising their young before swimming all the way back to the Antarctic again - a journey that takes the whales 6-8 weeks to complete!
Excitingly, there have already been some reports of calf sightings off Fiji. This is particularly good news as this population of humpbacks is very low in number. So low in fact they are listed as an endangered population. However, these calves are a promising start to the 2014 season, so let’s hope it continues this way!
Did you know…
…That adult humpback whales don’t feed whilst in the Pacific breeding grounds? This is because their main source of food (small shrimp like creatures called ‘krill’) is not found there in large numbers. This is why eventually (when the calves are strong enough to make the journey after drinking gallons of their mothers’ milk), the adults must head back with their calves to feed on krill in the waters of the Antarctic.