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Humpback whale calf found deceased at Cooloola

4 July 2017

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers discovered a deceased humpback whale calf on the beach near Freshwater camping area at Cooloola on the morning of 3 July 2017. 

The calf was 4.89 metres long and appeared to be very recently born.

There was no indication of the cause of death. 

The carcass was moved from the foreshore and placed behind the sand dunes. 

About 27,000 humpbacks are migrating up the Queensland coast this year, and about 3000 calves may be born during the migration. As with any wild population, a certain number of deaths can be expected and some will be calves.

Whale calves are sometimes separated from their mothers and become stranded. Separation can be due to reasons such as premature birth during the annual northern migration, shark attack on the pair, human causes such as boat strike or shark nets, or health problems in the calf.

To help reduce whale strandings, Queenslanders out boating can follow some general rules:

  • Watch safely from a distance, and help ensure marine mammals can live in our waters without being disturbed.
  • Please don’t restrict the path of a whale or cause it to change direction. Please don’t ever drive a boat into a pod of whales.

The no-approach limits for boaties, swimmers and pilots are set out at: https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/watching/marine-mammals/rules.html

Last updated
4 July 2017