Whales on the wane as mum and baby depart

THIS year’s Warrnambool whale season looks to have ended earlier than usual with a visiting cow and calf departing from Logans Beach in the past week. 

A cow and calf were sighted near Logans Beach on Friday afternoon, lifting hopes that they would revive the whale viewing season.

However, they have not been sighted since and appear to have moved on.

Keen Warrnambool whale watcher Peter Read said the cow and calf moved east along the coast on Friday evening past Lake Gillear and towards Apollo Bay, marking a possible earlier-than-normal end to the whale season.

Mr Read said the fact the calf was not born at Logans Beach and there were no other cows and calves there probably played a part in the pair moving on.

The presence of other cows and calves often persuaded newcomers to stay, he said.

Warrnambool City Council’s tourism services manager Peter Abbott said the absence of whales in recent weeks had disappointed thousands of people keen to see them.

Mr Abbott said the Warrnambool visitor information centre and the visitwarrnambool.com.au website received thousands of inquiries each month about whether whales were about. 

Mr Read said a cow and calf had stayed at Logans Beach for 23 days this season but had left with another southern right whale in early August.

He believed the same cow and calf had been sighted in Portland on Friday, August 8.

Mr Read said 11 southern right whales had been sighted at Logans Beach throughout this season, far fewer than last year when there were up to 16 whales at one time.

He said the whale season sometimes continued into October and there was still a chance of further sightings.

Reports issued by Victorian Environment and Primary Industries Department senior biodiversity officer, Mandy Watson, show the last local sighting of a whale prior to last Friday was at Killarney on August 6.

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