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Season of the whales

Dawn Gibson
Wednesday, July 16, 2014

FIJIAN waters are currently extending a warm welcome to some of the world's most beautiful creatures — the humpback whales.

These magnificent sea wonders are currently migrating to Fiji waters for the purposes of breeding, or calving, as it is more appropriately termed.

Spotted in both Taveuni and just off Leleuvia Island in the past few weeks, the timing of their migration is spot-on and Fiji should expect more sightings throughout the next few months.

"We generally expect to start seeing humpback whales migrating into Fijian waters around July (although in some years it happens a bit earlier or a bit later than this)," explained whale and dolphin specialist Dr Cara Miller, of Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) Pacific Islands Programme.

"I have had one other recent report of a humpback whale sighting near Taveuni and so this second sighting at Leleuvia really confirms that humpback whales have arrived in Fiji for the season."

Dr Miller said as part of their migratory pattern, they do not come to Fijian waters to feed — this is done throughout feeding grounds in the Antarctic prior to migration.

"Humpback whales migrate annually between polar foraging grounds and tropical breeding grounds. In this part of the world, the feeding grounds are Antarctic and the breeding/calving grounds include the waters of many Pacific Island countries and territories.

"They spend about four months feeding and four months in the breeding areas and then about six to eight weeks travelling between these two areas.

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