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22     Nursing Mothers


Finally, the mothers with yearlings or newly born calves head south, approximately nineteen days later, having spent a longer period in warmer waters than the rest of the migrating group. With the young whales in tow, these females travel more slowly, often stopping to rest and play.
ABOVE RIGHT: 'My Auntie' is an older female photographed here in 1997 with a new calf named 'Sagan'. She is easy to resight by the obvious and deep propeller marks on her left hand side. She also has a very odd shaped extended dorsal fin, no doubt from injuries sustained in the same encounter with a boat. We first saw her in 1994, again in 1995 and then in 1998. At each sighting she was surrounded by a mixed group of several sub-adults and young adults. Ongoing identification of the individuals with 'My Auntie' will help us understand the formation, composition and nature of such groupings.

(Photo: Trish Franklin)

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