Humpback whales have been sighted near Australia’s Great Barrier Reef weeks earlier than the huge mammals typically arrive there. The whales make an annual trip to the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the 28 Finalists in the New7Wonders of Nature, to breed and recover from the harshness of the frozen Antarctic waters, where they spend much of the year. Last week, a tourist boat spotted a pod of humpbacks about 40 kilometres off the coast of Queensland, the Cairns Post reported.
Humpback whales travel widely across the Earth’s oceans — they even spend time near New York City. Although they were nearly wiped out by whaling in the early 20th century, the species has made a comeback and numbers appear to be growing.
“It’s a bit over a 10 percent increase each year, which means we’ll possibly have close to another 1,500 whales born this year,” Peter Harrison, director of the Southern Cross University Whale Research Center, told the Cairns Post.
The Great Barrier Reef’s most famous Cetacean visitor, an unusual white humpback named Migaloo, hasn’t been so far, however.
The future for humpback whales - BBC Planet Earth