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2018 Two Bays Whale Project Report

2018 whale sightings show an increase compared to past years.

  • We saw 286 confirmed separate sighting events.
  • With an estimated 610 individual animals.
  • From 4 confirmed species (southern right, humpback and killer whale).

The 2018 season has seen an overall increase in sightings compared to previous years. This increase is expected with a greater observation effort by a growing network of citizen scientists as well as a known population growth of east Australian humpback whales. Of note was a higher than expected number of sightings of southern right whales in the region. Whether these sightings were of a number of individuals or the same few whales moving locally is unknown as insufficient photo identification images were gained. Also, of note was the detection of a newborn humpback whale calf in July, a rarity for the region with only two other validated similar events.

The Two Bays Whale Project is a citizen science initiative created through collaboration between the Dolphin Research Institute, Wildlife Coast Cruises and Killer Whales Australia. The project officially began in 2015 and is designed to formalise the recording of sightings of large cetacean species within Port Phillip, Western Port and adjacent waters (Barwon Heads to Inverloch). The current dataset dates back to 2000 with some supplementary sightings from previous years dating back to 1984.

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