Subject: Case Study: Trapped Whale Australia

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Mon, 21 Nov 1994 14:12:05

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From: WHE_WILLIAM@flo.org
Subject: Case Study: Trapped Whale Australia
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From:	SMTP%"MARMAM@UVVM.BITNET" 21-NOV-1994 12:16:18.36
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Subj:	WILLY THE WHALE RE-POSITIONS
 
Date:         Mon, 21 Nov 1994 04:01:00 UTC
Reply-To:     Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
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From:         r.mallon1@genie.geis.com
Subject:      WILLY THE WHALE RE-POSITIONS
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WILLY THE WHALE RE-POSITIONS ITSELF, PERHAPS TO REACH
   SYDNEY, Nov 20 AAP - "Willy", the tropical whale trapped in a
river on the New South Wales central coast, had positioned himself
close to river's mouth and might be about to make move for freedom,
the National Parks and Wildlife Service said today.
   Spokesman Brian Davies said the whale had taken up residence
about one kilometre from the sand bar, off Manning Point, at the
mouth of the Manning River, near Taree.
   He said this was the closest it had been to the ocean since
becoming trapped behind the sand bar in September.
   "It's usually sighted a further three kilometres from the river
mouth," Mr Davies said.
   "Never before has it set up shop so close to the bar - which
seems to have been a psychological bar for it."
   The nine-metre, 10 tonne rare tropical whale, which is more
formally known as a Bryde's whale, has been nicknamed 'Willy' by
the locals and 'Pimpernel' by the NPWS, mainly because it has
foiled rescue attempts with nets and a pontoon.
   But the mammal's sex is not yet known - although Mr Davies says
that information should be revealed later this week after extensive
tests on pieces of flesh "literally the size of two postage stamps"
which were left in a net.
   That was from the last attempt to rescue Willy on November 18.
   But now the NPWS believe the whale might be wanting to try
freedom on his own.
   "It used to do long circuits of the river - it has stopped doing
that and more or less is hovering permanently near the approaches
of the bar," he said.
   "This means it might be attempting to cross the bar.
   "It also makes it easier for NPWS to either manoeuvre it into
the channels that thread their way through the sand bar, or it'll
make it easier to manoeuvre the animal on to the (especially made)
craddle and tow it out to sea if it gets in trouble on the sand
bar."
   Mr Davies said another attempt with the cradle and pontoon would
be made later this week.
   "So we hope the animal remains based where it's relocated
itself."
   He said the name Bryde's whale came about when a Scandinavian
biologist at the turn of the century discovered the rare species
and named it after a friend of his who was a Norwegian diplomate in
Africa.