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1     Why and Where do the Southern Humpback Whales Migrate?


ABOVE: Mother and calf, 'Timantha & Elmo' cavorting in the warm waters of Hervey Bay during the 1996 season.

Survival of calves is a primary reason for the migration to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, while an abundant food supply is available for the Humpbacks in Antarctica.

(Photo: Trish Franklin)

Each year several southern humpback whale groups leave their feeding grounds in the Antarctic to begin their epic voyage of approximately 10,000 Kilometres. One of the groups travel up along the eastern seaboard of Australia, passing Cape Byron on their way to their birthing and mating grounds in the sub tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef beyond Hervey Bay.

At birth humpback whale calves have little body fat and would not survive in the icy waters of the Antarctic; hence the annual return to the warm waters of the Great Barrier Reef for birthing and mating.

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