Southern right whale sightings off KI kick off whale season

There have been several southern right whale sightings off Kangaroo Island and eastern end of the Fleurieu Peninsula in recent days.

Two confirmed sightings at Penneshaw and Middleton have now been registered with SA Whale Centre sightings log.

These sighting officially kick off the 2018 whale watching season that typically begins around Mother’s Day.

Here is a letter on whale watching season that we will run in this week’s Islander from Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch coordinator Tony Bartram:

Mothers and whales

Mothers’ Day carries special meaning for some in our community as it often coincides with the first sightings of the majestic southern right whales that visit our waters to breed and calve at the end of their annual migration from Antarctic waters.

We are incredibly lucky to have this occur in our regional waters but need to be particularly mindful that these are an endangered species, hunted almost to extinction, and only now beginning to show signs of recovery, albeit somewhat tenuous.

These gentle giant mothers make incredible sacrifices to raise their newborn calves, losing as much as a quarter of their body volume as they suckle and care for their young, preparing them for their arduous, and sometimes dangerous journey south later in the year.

Such a fantastic example of motherhood, but one which we need to be fully mindful of as our impacts through boating, pollution, noise, oil and gas exploration, and proximity can be incredibly detrimental to these peaceful creatures.

Conservation and protection of these and other Cetaceans which reside in our waters are contingent upon each and every one of us playing our part.

If you observe whales of any kind; southern rights, humpbacks, blues etc, please report sightings to the South Australian Whale Centre on 8551 0750 or online at 

The data which goes to the South Australian Museum, is of paramount importance in informing management decisions to ensure the safety of whales in our waters.

There have been several unconfirmed southern right whale sightings in the region recently with two unspecified sightings just confirmed at Middleton and Penneshaw. Welcome back!

Happy Mothers’ Day...and happy whale watching!

Tony Bartram, Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch coordinator