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29 August 2008

Sluice the humpback whale trapped in the tidal electric dam / Australian humpback calf mistakes sailboat for its mother

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Nova Scotia Power press release

Sluice Update

Sep 02, 2004

Annapolis Royal, NS - The humpback whale that entered the Annapolis River via the sluice gates of the Annapolis Tidal Power Plant on Aug. 23 remains in the river and its activity level continues to suggest the whale is in good condition, is under no undue stress and has ample access to food such as herring and mackerel, which enter the river at high tide.

On Aug. 30-31, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in collaboration with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) broadcast the sound of feeding humpback whale vocalizations in waters on both sides of the sluice gates in hopes this would coax the whale into returning to the Annapolis Basin and its natural habitat in the Bay of Fundy. Although the whale took interest in these sounds, even circling one of the transmitters, it did not exit the river. Nova Scotia Power has decided not to run the Tidal Plant this weekend. Our hydro dispatchers will be keeping the sluice gates open as much as possible to provide opportunity for the whale to leave. DFO has decided to take no further proactive measures for a few days to give the whale additional time to exit the river on its own at slack tide. If this has not occurred by Tuesday, Sept. 7, a resumption of proactive measures to encourage it to leave will be considered.

It is of the utmost importance that the whale not be impeded or stressed while in the river. The public must refrain from approaching the whale, particularly by vessel. A close approach could be dangerous to both the whale and any water craft and its occupants, as a humpback whale is very heavy (in this case an estimated 30 tonnes) and very active. The public should note that disturbing a marine mammal is illegal under Section 7 of the Marine Mammal Regulations.


The Telegraph (UK daily)
Tuesday 19 August 2008

Humpack whale calf
mistakes boat for its mum

Rescuers in Australia are trying to save a baby humpback whale which has taken a shine to a moored yacht, possibly mistaking the vessel for its lost mother.

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# Quarter of world's whales and dolphins face extinction

The whale calf was found at Pittwater, north of Sydney, after apparently being abandoned by its mother off the Australian east coast.

"The calf has spent the last day or so in Pittwater and we believe it has been nuzzling up to a moored vessel in an attempt to find milk," said Chris McIntosh, local manager for the New South Wales state national parks service.

A team of workers towed the private yacht out to sea to try to lure the calf into deeper water in the hope that it would find its mother, but it was spotted close to the beach at Pittwater again on Tuesday.

Experts said the baby whale cannot survive more than a few days without milk.

Mr McIntosh said while it was distressing, it was natural for some animals to abandon their young.

"The best thing we can do is to shepherd the animal and hope it remains in the ocean," he said.

Female whales give birth to a single calf, and a nursing period of more than one year for many species creates a strong bond between a mother and its young.

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