Maternal Site Fidelity among Humpback whales- visiting Jervis Bay. What does that even mean we hear you asking?
Well, when whales are migrating they often have newborn calves in tow. The young calves are still developing, learning and growing- plus they have smaller lungs and need to rest & play of course. While the road – or ocean migration is a long one, mothers and calves need to stop and rest along the way. Around the world scientists have observed humpback cows (mothers) returning to the same place every few years with a new calf to rest and bond with the new calf before heading to cool nutrient and krill rich waters. To date, most large scale studies to date have focused on humpbacks re- visiting sites in the northern hemisphere. However, it happens here too! – In the southern hemisphere, along, African, South American, Australian and more specifically – Here- in JERVIS BAY! – Very special!There are even records of the same whales re-visiting Jervis Bay with their calves several years apart. In these instances the cow and calf pairs often resting inside Jervis Bay for several hours and even short term stays from 2 – 8 DAYS! This behaviour is referred to as ‘maternal site fidelity’ or ‘short term residency’.
To learn more you can come aboard our cruises- you never know what or who- you might see!