A 16-metre southern right whale, which has enthralled watchers off Sydney’s beaches this week, has given birth to a ‘big bouncing baby’ and is spending the night with her newborn calf in Sydney harbour.
‘She’s vocalising a lot, we can hear her trumpeting sound from the shore. There’s also a lot of tail-lifting,’ said Ronny Ling, President of the Marine Mammal Rescue and Research organisation.
Whale groups are warning people to stay away from the birthing mother.
‘It is critical to give the whale plenty of space, at least 100 metres, and if she does have a calf with her, at least 300 metres,’ said Mr Ling.
‘We’ve had problems this morning with surfers getting too close.
‘It’s not just for the whale’s safety, it’s also about people’s own safety. A protective mother with a calf will charge at people.’
The NSW Parks and Wildlife Service says the suspected mother looks happy, frolicking in the surf.
Whales usually birth in calm bays, and Southern Right whales in particular are known for coming in close to the shoreline.
There are only around 5000 Southern Rights left in the southern hemisphere.