POP the champagne, a new baby has arrived.
The first southern right whale calf of the season has been born, with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) confirming sightings of the new arrival at Logans Beach, Warrnambool.
DELWP's natural environment programs officer Mandy Watson said a whale known as 'Tripod' had given birth.
"She is known to the research team and has been sighted at Logans Beach for several years, so we're excited she's decided to return and spend some time raising her calf in the area," Ms Watson said.
"We have named her Tripod based on the pattern of callosities on her head. She was first recorded at Logans Beach in 1995 and has returned to calve on numerous occasions since then.
"We expect this mother and calf pair to stay in the area over the coming months, as mothers are known to remain in the same coastal area following the birth of their calves until they are strong enough to travel.
"On average, we see two calves per season at Logans Beach, however in previous years we've seen calves at other locations along the south-west coast and we are hoping that this is a sign of population recovery."
Whale watchers who see the gentle giants are encouraged to report any sightings along the coast to support ongoing research programs.
"Reports should include any photos, the date, time and location of the sighting, and a description of the whales and their behaviour," Ms Watson said.
"Every calf born to these critically endangered southern right whales boosts their population, which is very encouraging. Southern right whales have a single calf every three years, with gestation lasting 12 months and lactation at least seven to eight months. It's typical for weaning to be complete within a year.
"While nursing, mothers survive on their layers of thick blubber. This allows time for their calves to grow strong enough to migrate to the feeding grounds in the Southern Ocean.
"When calves are newborn, their mothers swim slowly and spend more time on the surface, making them vulnerable to vessel strike and vessel disturbance.
"Whales need be given space to move around in peace while they're nursing their young, which is why powered vessels like boats and jet skis are excluded from Logans Beach until 31 October each year.
"We will continue monitoring the coast for Southern Right Whales.
"Outside the Logans Beach Exclusion Zone, vessels must stay at least 200 metres away from whales."
Southern right whales visit Victoria's south-west from May to October each year and are critically endangered on the Victorian Threatened Species Advisory List.
To report a whale sighting click here.
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