Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) participated in the 12-hour Hervey Bay Whale Festival in Australia this year. Hervey Bay, located in Queensland, Australia, is known as the “Whalewatch Capital of the World” for the humpback whales found there from July to October. PWF has been operating on Maui for 31 and Australia for 27 years.
“We don’t have a ‘fleet’ in Australia–just one research boat,” said Anne Rillero, a PWF official. “We currently have two members of our research team gathering data on whales in Hervey Bay and later, along other points of the eastern coast of Australia.”
“Pacific Whale Foundation has studied and watched whales in Australia for 27 years,” said Greg Kaufman, president and founder of the PWF. “We’ve worked in Hervey Bay since 1987. We were absolutely delighted to take part in this year’s Hervey Bay Whale Festival.”
Andrew Ellis, Pacific Whale Foundation’s Australia Operations Manager, served as the emcee at Ocean of Fun on the Children’s Stage for much of the day and also offered an interactive talk about whales. Kaufman also gave a presentation about whales.
During the Illumination Parade, Pacific Whale Foundation presented its research vessel. The boat was decorated with paper mache whale flukes, handcrafted by a local family.
“This was a fun way to launch our 2011 whale research season in Australia,” said Kaufman. “We commenced our research shortly after the festival, driving up to Port Douglas to study humpback whales in an area where they are thought to breed and give birth.”
Pacific Whale Foundation has conducted whale research in Australia since 1984. Last year, PWF researchers gathered data on whales in Port Douglas, the Whitsunday Islands, Hervey Bay and Eden. The foundation shares data with the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage and the International Whaling Commission to help establish effective management plans for protecting whales. They also run a small retail show in Urangan Harbor.