Whale watching volunteers need help for the annual whale census

The whale watching volunteers at Cape Solander are having a bumper season.

Well spotted: Cape Solander whale watchers Wayne Reynolds and Chris Rasborsek need help from the public for the annual whale census to be held this weekend. Picture: John Veage

Well spotted: Cape Solander whale watchers Wayne Reynolds and Chris Rasborsek need help from the public for the annual whale census to be held this weekend. Picture: John Veage

The number of humpback spotted since the whale watching season started on May 24 is more than 1480.

“This is much higher than the volunteers would have expected just three weeks into the season,” a National Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said.

The volunteers are calling for extra sets of eyes with the public invited to head down to Cape Solander next Sunday, June 25 to participate in Australia’s annual whale census.

Cape Solander in Kamay Botany Bay National Park is one of five National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)-hosted locations for the national humpback whale migration census day held each year by marine mammal rescue organisation ORRCA.

NPWS Greater Sydney Region area manager Andres Bianchi said the annual whale count is an opportunity for the public to help gather information to build a snapshot of whale movements and behaviours.

“The humpback whale migration is a conservation success story, with 30,000 humpback whales expected to pass by the NSW coast this whale watching season, up from just 200 to 500 estimated to have been left in the 1960s after decades of whaling,” Mr Bianchi said.

“We’re encouraging everyone to come along to the whale census day on Sunday, June 25 to help tally the number of whales swimming past and to learn more about these giants of the deep.

“At Cape Solander we’ll have information sessions run by NPWS guides, as well as interactive activities for children.

“Bring along your binoculars, and together with the ORRCA volunteers we’ll help count the whales and update and display the tallies throughout the day,” she said.

NPWS staff members work alongside ORRCA volunteers throughout the year to monitor and sometimes assist marine animals, including the humpback whales currently migrating north.

ORRCA President Ronny Ling said the data gathered from around Australia on the annual whale census day helps grow understanding about these wonderful animals and how they can best be protected now and in the future.

“The annual ORRCA whale census is a special day of the year where the public can get involved in measuring the success of conservation efforts,” Mr Ling said.

For details about the Cape Solander venue for the ORRCA whale census day, go to http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/events/cape-solander-whale-census.

29.05.17-Cape Solander whale watchers Wayne Reynolds and Chris Rasborsek at the start of the annual whale migration season.Picture John Veage

29.05.17-Cape Solander whale watchers Wayne Reynolds and Chris Rasborsek at the start of the annual whale migration season.Picture John Veage

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