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whale-watchers-research

Whale Watchers Research

Whale Watchers Research

Volunteer whale watchers line up to boost research efforts

Volunteer whale watchers are on shift from this week to help the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) document sightings of Southern Right Whales visiting Logans Beach this winter.


DELWP Program Manager Natural Environment Programs Garry Peterson said: "There are 20 research volunteers, who are students from Deakin University, signed up to this year’s Warrnambool Whale Watch Group.”


"The next few months is an exciting time for whale watching at Logans Beach, which is the only established nursery in south-east Australia where female Southern Right Whales raise their calves,” Mr Peterson said.


"Volunteers are rostered in pairs or teams to attend the platform every day from now until after the last Southern Right Whale departs for the season, which is generally in September. "The volunteers watch for a minimum one hour, collecting information including whale numbers, movements, behaviour and identification features of individual whales, if possible.

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"Volunteers are trained on how to collect sightings data and photo identification techniques for Southern Right Whales.


"In addition to a pair of binoculars and a warm coat, the volunteers need lots of patience, given whales can disappear underwater for around 20 minutes at a time.

“Information collected by volunteers is added to DELWP’s whale sightings and photo identification databases.

"This kind of practical support from volunteer whale watchers is vital to ongoing research into the critically endangered Southern Right Whale.

“Reports and images from the community provide a meaningful contribution to our understanding of this species to help us better support its recovery.

“To help make reporting whale sightings a quick and easy process, we launched a new online reporting tool.

“Anyone who spots a whale along the coast is encouraged to report it online by visiting https://www.swifft.net.au/srwsmp to add details of your sighting on an interactive map.

“Please include photos, a date, time, location, description of the whales and their behaviour, and your contact details.”

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