Migaloo the white whale has once again been spotted in the waters off the Gold Coast, delighting whale watchers and biologists with his antics. This season Migaloo, the Gold Coast’s most famous cetacean visitor, has been spotted several times on his annual round trip from tropical waters to Antarctica.
The beloved albino celebrity was spotted by Spirit for the second time this season early on Saturday morning (16th September 2017), just off Burleigh Heads.
Of particular interest to both whale watchers and scientists, Migaloo’s white form makes him easily recognisable to even the most casual observer. Sightings sent in by the public allow biologists to accurately track his long journey, providing valuable data on the migratory behaviour of these giant mammals.
Due to his unique appearance, Migaloo has had special legislation enacted by both the Queensland and Commonwealth governments to provide extra protection from harassment. He and any other humpback whales that are more than 90% white are declared to be ‘special management marine mammals’ with boats and prohibited vessels banned from approaching within 500 metres and aircraft from approaching within 610 metres. Migaloo still bears scars after surviving a collision with a trimaran near Magnetic Island in 2003.
The White Whale Rock Star
Migaloo has become something of a star within the whale watching community, with his visits eagerly anticipated and sightings a source of much excitement. Fans flock to the Gold Coast in the hope of spotting a glimpse of this unique humpback whale, a highly rewarding experience for all lucky enough to witness his travels.
Below is a video of the beloved Migaloo Spy-Hopping
Part of the east Australian humpback population, which numbers approximately 15 to 17,000 individuals at last count, Migaloo is one of only two known white humpback whales in the world. The second white humpback is a younger whale named Migaloo Junior, who is part of the same humpback population and thought to be the offspring of Migaloo.
One US family got more than they bargained for when they booked a spirit tour, the Franklin family traveled all the way from California and were very impressed with the sighting:
“It’s a fathers day present so, we couldn’t have had better timing! We almost changed for the later trip so we’re very happy we got to see migaloo” ~ Marcelle Franklin from the US
The whale watching season is not over, with sightings expected to continue in the Gold Coast area until at least November. Whale fans who would like the chance to spot Migaloo are encouraged to utilise this opportunity to do so before he returns to southern waters.
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