The Humpback Whale: An Ecological Success Story

Ever since man was able to set sail on the oceans, he has hunted the plentiful bounty of marine life and the largest of all creatures, the whale bore the brunt of predation by humans. By the 19th century, whalers had perfected the art and when we finally came to our senses in the 1970s, we had almost eradicated the Humpback Whale, with numbers thought to be in the 100s.

Save the Whale

In 1977, a schoolgirl by the name of Maris Sidenstecker founded Save the Whales and with a friend, she printed T-Shirts and handed them out at public events. Maris was disturbed at the rate that whales were being destroyed and she decided that the people, especially the young, needed to be educated about the importance on marine life in general and particularly whales. She somehow knew that if enough people knew of the whales’ plight, they could exert enough pressure on governments and other organisations to ban whaling completely.

The Road to Recovery

When pop singer Nik Kershaw wrote a hit song called ‘Save the Whales’, this put the message out to young people and in a way, this song was a reflection of society and their intention to put an end to commercial whaling once and for all. Today, apart from a small Japanese and Innuit community, whaling is banned worldwide and after 40 plus years, most whale species have recovered.

Whale Watching

If you ever happen to be on the west coast of Australia, you simply must go whale watching in Eden; on the Sapphire Coast of NSW. The whale watching season begins in May, when the Humpbacks start their northward journey to the Great Barrier Reef, where the females give birth and thousands of these huge creatures pass through, until the middle or end of July. September sees the start of the return trip, with the mothers staying close to the shore, as they protect their young and such are the numbers, you would never fail to see a whale on one of the watching boats.

Not only have we stopped commercial whaling, great progress has been made with shipping lanes and fewer whales are injured by the huge supertankers, the major cause of fatality.

The next generation will continue to ensure that whales and other forms of marine life will be protected and they will educate their children about the importance of nature.