Subject: Killer whales attack hump (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Mon, 14 Jul 1997 15:34:32 -0400 (EDT)


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Date: Thu, 10 Jul 97 11:20:00 GMT 
Subject: NSW: Killer whales attack hump

NSW: Killer whales attack humpback pod

   GOLD COAST, July 8 AAP - More killer whales may be seen along
Australia's east coast as the number of humpback whales - one of
their major food sources - making the trek northwards increased, a
whale expert said today.
   National Parks and Wildlife Service officer Dave Paton said
killer whales had been sighted off the New South Wales far north
coast for the past three years but there was no specific evidence
of an increase in their numbers.
   He said that with the 10 to 12 per cent yearly increase in the
number of humpback whales migrating north to warmer breeding
waters, more killer whales may be seen.
   Mr Paton made his comments after witnessing three killer whales
attack a pod of three humpbacks he had been trailing about six
kilometres east of Byron Bay yesterday.
   "There was a large male eight metres long and two smaller
killers, either sub-adults or females," he said.
   "They came straight at us, made several swift passes at the boat
and then circled us several times no more than five metres away.
   "It was a pretty intimidating sight.
   "The male, with a two metre dorsal fin, was nearly twice the
size of the research boat."
   He said the killer whales surged at the three humpbacks at about
20 knots.
   "In the event there was no bloodshed, but while the attack
lasted there was an awesome display of power and violent
upheavals," he said.
   "The humpbacks, twice the size of the killer whales, closed
ranks thrashing the sea into huge water spouts.
   "I guess the message was to indicate size and strength."