GBR Legacy has launched a Humpback Whale spotting network and they need you to help them learn more about the gentle giants that visit each year.
It’s that time of year when the community and tourists alike get excited to spot one of the most majestic animals in existence, the humpback whale as they migrate north.
Local non-profit organisation GBR Legacy is calling for anyone that spots one of these whales to contribute sighting information and photos so we can all learn more together.
Dr Dean Miller, Managing Director of GBR Legacy, said there are some amazing citizen science programs already well established that allow them to track whales, learn more about their populations, and even identify individuals.
“This is our ability as a community, to not just appreciate the whales that visit here but to learn about their movements and compare these to other sightings along the Great Barrier Reef and the east coast of Australia.
“By all submitting to the same programs we have a real opportunity to gather meaningful data and learn about the whales right on our doorstep,” he said.
This spotting network will use citizen science programs Fluke Matcher, Happy Whale, and the GBRMPA’s Eye on the Reef.
Paul Myers, operations Manager for GBR Legacy said by using these programs we can begin to piece together some of the more interesting aspects of the migration.
“Working together with the tourism industry and crew, tourists, recreational boaters and the general public, many of whom already encounter humpback whales each year, we are helping to coordinate more information and data for this coming migration season,” said Mr Myers.
By simply reporting a sighting or submitting a photo, the programs collate the information and produce data that can be used to interpret what is happening during the migration.
The program is open to anyone to participate, the more participants submitting sighting information will help to unravel the secret lives of whales during their migration.
Prizes for individual whales matched, best photos, most sightings, and other valuable data collected will be given away by Hemingway’s Brewery who sponsors GBR Legacy activities.
Kim Logan Marketing Manager of Hemingway’s Brewery said we all love seeing the whales, but this gives a whole other meaning to spotting them, knowing that we might see individuals that have been seen somewhere else days, weeks, or even years before.”
Chris Jones, Operations Manager for Calypso Cruises said this is a great way to get crew and tourists more involved in the humpback whale sightings.
“Each year we see lots of whales on our way to and from the reef, but we don’t know how many we see, if they are the same each year, and who else has seen them on their way here. This network will start to better understand these aspects we are all so interested in,” he said.
Once the data starts rolling in GBR Legacy will report back to the community regularly, for more information follow GBR Legacy on Facebook.