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1 July, 2021

Spot and plot the migration of these gentle giants

AS the community and tourists get excited for another Humpback Whale migration season, local non-profit organisation GBR Legacy is calling for anyone who spots one of these whales to contribute sightings information and photos so we can all learn more about the annual migration of these gentle giants.

Dr Dean Miller, Managing Director of GBR Legacy is encouraging members of the public along with reef visitors to participate in this spot and plot program.

“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” says Dr Dean Miller.

This spotting network will use citizen science programs Fluke Matcher, Happy Whale, the GBRMPAs Eye on the Reef.

Reef visitors and boaties can report a sighting or submit a photo via the web, the programs collate the information and produce data that can be used to interpret what is happening during the migration.

Participation in this whale watching and reporting program is open to anyone, the key to its success will be the number of people submitting sightings and information.

Chris Jones, Operations Manager for Calypso Cruises, based in Port Douglas says “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”.

Prizes for individual whales matched, best photos, most sightings and other valuable data collected, will be given away by Hemingways Brewery who sponsors GBR Legacy activities.

Once the data starts rolling in GBR Legacy will report back to the community on a regular basis what the programs have found in terms of whale population dynamics and individuals in this region.

More information can be found on the GBR Legacy Facebook page.

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