Whale "trapped" in river

Mon, 18 Sep 1994 21:28:59

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Date: Sun, 18 Sep 1994 21:30:28 -0400 (EDT)
From: WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org
To: whalenet@vmsvax.simmons.edu
Message-ID: <940918213028.483d@flo.org>
Subject: Whale "trapped" in river
From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 17-SEP-1994 15:53:08.29
Subj:	Update on River Whale
Date:         Fri, 16 Sep 1994 21:41:16 +1000
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Sender:       Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Comments:     Warning -- original Sender: tag was rbaird@SOL.UVIC.CA
From:         Bill Fulton <FULTON@decus.org.au>
Subject:      Update on River Whale
X-To:         marmam@uvvm.uvic.ca
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
Re: B edeni in Manning River
To the many who have responded and assisted us, please accept our
heartfelt thanks. The response has been overwhelming and we have long since
passed the point where we can reply to people individually. Also we only
have access to the network on sporadic occasions. Just know that
every message you sent has helped us, and has been taken with the greatest
seriousness. You have helped the animal more than you will ever know.
By the way opinion was equally divided between options A (do nothing) and B,
with one vote for option C (drive the animal).
To all those who couldn't find the Manning River in their atlases:
the Manning is a small river which enters the sea near Taree, a town some
300km north of Sydney by road. It is about 200m wide where the whale is,
and the channel runs about 5-7m deep.
Last Tuesday 13th September the whale had a surprise for us, which helped to
answer many questions. The previous evening it was observed about 11pm in its
usual haunt 17km upstream (which by the way is replete with herring, a staple
of its diet). It had been there since at least 7am on 17th August, the day
after it entered the river at 1:30pm on a rising tide, grounding briefly
on the bar.
At about 10am on the 13th September it was seen grounded on the river bar
at low tide, outside the mouth of the river. A boat circled it several times
(it was still mostly submerged). As the tide rose, it freed itself after
about 20 minutes and headed back upstream, to be faced with a barrage of boats
trying to herd it back out. It dived under the boats and headed upstream with
boats in pursuit. After grounding a few times en-route, and freeing itself
each time, it arrived by mid afternoon back at its 'home' 17km upstream, where
it remains today, following the same behavioural pattern and respiration
pattern as always. Its dash for the sea was just one lunar month after it
entered the river. We are extremely impressed by its ability to navigate
long stretches of treacherous and complex channels, probably sometimes in the
dark. We are getting more and more impressed with the animal, actually.
More in a few days if logistics permit.
-- Bill Fulton
   Sydney Australia