Whale watchers reminded to give marine mammals wide berth
Whale watchers are being reminded to give visiting whales space. This follows footage of a southern right whale and calf in Wellington Harbor being closely followed by a recreational boat earlier this week.
The return of the southern right whales has delighted the public – and this week four have been spotted in Bluff Harbour, off the beach at Foxton and Paekakariki, and in Wellington Harbour
Unfortunately, some members of the public were too enthusiastic about the whales, approaching and following the whales in manner that seemed to breach animal welfare guidelines.
Christine Rose, Campaign Advisor at World Animal Protection, said:
“Boat strikes and behavioural disturbance is the last thing these whales need as they navigate busy coastal waters with their calves, as they prepare for a long journey to Antarctic feeding grounds in coming months.
“We encourage people to celebrate whales from shore, where often the view is best, and there are no risks to whales”.
“When people are in boats and encounter whales, we urge boaties to respect the Department of Conservation whale watching rules.”
General rules set out by the Department of Conservation call for no more than three vessels and/or aircraft within 300 m of any marine mammal and to keep at least 200 m from any large whale mother and calf or calves.