Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness Pam & Wayne Osborn
Humpback Whales Western Australia
New Season Calf Breaching, Exmouth Gulf
Back From The Brink - The Great Migration
By 1963 their numbers has dwindled to a few hundred and the future looked bleak. Their recovery has been miraculous and today the Western Australian coast hosts the largest humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) population on the planet.
Some 33,000 to 36,000 whales now migrate from the Antarctic feeding grounds to breed and give birth in the warmer tropical waters of the Kimberley and Ningaloo.
During the Austral winter they trek north along the Western Australian coast and by late spring they are southbound again to restore blubber reserves after the long fast in tropical waters.
By 1963 whaling had taken a heavy toll and it is estimated that 90-95% of the global humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) population had fallen foul of the explosive harpoon. Fortunately a moratorium on killing humpbacks gave this species a second chance and the remote nature of the Western Australian coast facilitated a remarkable comeback.
Little remains today of the whaling stations along the Western Australian coast.