Info: WHITE humpback whale

Michael Williamson (
Mon, 21 Jul 1995 17:55:36

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Date: Fri, 21 Jul 1995 16:23:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Michael Williamson <WHE_WILLIAM@FLO.ORG>
Subject: Info: WHITE humpback whale
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Subj:	white whale
Date:         Fri, 21 Jul 1995 08:50:57 EST
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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Subject:      white whale
To:           Multiple recipients of list MARMAM <MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET>
     A follow-up to Paul Forestell's initial report of repeated sightings
     of a white humpback whale.
     Moby Dick stirs excitement in Australian waters
     SYDNEY, July 21 (Reuter) - An extremely rare albino whale has
     been spotted off the Australian coast, prompting a call on Friday for
     whale-watchers, seafarers and even aircraft to look out for the
     real-life Moby Dick.
     The all-white humpback whale was sighted by a fisherman off a
     headland midway along Australia's east coast last Sunday, a
     spokesman for a state wildlife service told Reuters on Friday.
     It was the fourth sighting since 1991 of what is thought to be
     the same animal, said Lawrence Orel, a spokesman for New South
     Wales state's National Parks and Wildlife Service.
     "It's the colour of new white paper," said Australian Whale
     Conservation Society president Paul Hodda, who spotted the whale
     four years ago.
     "There's no evidence of any other white humpback whale anywhere
     in the world," he told Reuters.
     News of the latest sighting had caused "a bit of excitement" in
     scientific and conservation circles, Orel told Reuters.
     "We do welcome reports from people who may have seen it, because
     it will give us a good idea of how fast and what distances it is
     travelling," he said.
     "This animal is useful from a scientific point of view. It is
     readily visible from a boat or an aircraft."
     The most recent sighting was from a fishing boat as the whale
     swam past Cape Byron, about 550 km (340 miles) north of Sydney,
     on a migration route from Antarctic waters to sub-tropical breeding
     grounds off the northeast coast.
     The society appealed on Friday for whale-watchers to take care
     not to stress the animal and to keep well clear.
     The breeding season, which runs from August to October, brings
     whale-watching to a peak in northeast waters.
     Local media reports have dubbed the albino whale Moby Dick, after
     the white whale that featured in Herman Melville's famous novel
     of the same name.