Calving Rates and Intervals of East Australian Female Humpback Whales

Project Name:  
Calving Rates and Intervals of East Australian Female Humpback Whales

Project Dates:  
Ongoing

Project Site(s):  
Cairns/Cooktown Management Area of the Great Barrier Marine Park, Whitsunday Management Area of the Great Barrier Marine Park, Islands, Hervey Bay, Great Sandy Marine Park, QLD, and Eden, NSW

Project Aims:
Determine calving intervals and rates for east Australia (Breeding Stock E-1) humpback whales.

Project Justification:
Little is known of breeding intervals and calving rates of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales. Since 1984 Pacific Whale Foundation long-term research efforts have resulted in the reproductive histories of nearly 1,000 female humpback whales.

Project Methodology:
Digital genital (when possible), fluke and lateral body photographs will be collected for each identified whale using established procedures and Canon 7D digital cameras equipped with 100-400mm lenses (Forestell et al. 2003). Identification photographs will be compared to Pacific Whale Foundation's Southern Hemisphere Humpback Whale Catalog containing the reproductive histories over nearly 1,000 female humpback whales.

Project Permits:
Historical data collected under prior permits. 

Current Research:                                                                                                                  

  • NSW Government: Office of Environment and Heritage: Permit Number SL100195
  • Queensland Government, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation: Permit Number 307
  • Queensland Government, Department of Environment and Resource Management: Permit Number QS2011/GS040
  • Queensland Government, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority: Permit Number G14/36986.1
  • Queensland Government, Environmental Protection Agency: Permit Number:  WISP07811910

Animal Ethics Approvals:

  • NSW Government, Department of Industry and Investment, Animal Research Authority, Animal Care and Ethics Committee
  • Queensland Government, Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation

Management Outcomes:
Research findings will establish calving rates and intervals for Breeding Stock E-1 animals that will be critical in developing population models for the completion of the IWC’s Comprehensive Assessment of Southern Hemisphere humpback whales Breeding Stocks E and F.

Publications/Presentations:  
See Pacific Whale Foundation Publication/Presentation Summary