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7     Mothers with Calves

(Photo: Trish Franklin)

The first to leave Antarctica are the females who are at the end of lactation and weaning their young. By the time they reach the mating and birthing grounds in the Great Barrier Reef, the calves have reached the yearling stage and are a little more able to look after themselves, although most remain close to their mothers until they make their second trip down to the Antarctic.

LEFT: The bond between mother and calf is strong. Calves mostly stay eyeball to eyeball or within pectoral fin distance of mother during the first year. Time in Hervey Bay is divided between feeding, resting and playing. But play has a serious intent as a young calf must learn from mother all he needs to know for survival. Here 'Elmo' shows 'Timantha' that he has mastered the breach.

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