Wellington Scoop
Network

Photos: the whale that stopped the fireworks

8943c210-441a-49be-9b6d-bd1024a84fba
Photo by Wellington journalist and photographer Peter Dyer

From The Wellington App
Wellington’s been the right place for a visit by a rare southern right whale since it was first spotted in the harbour on Tuesday. But the presence of the whale in the harbour has led to the cancellation of the Wellington City Council’s inaugural mid-year fireworks event.

Thousands of Wellingtonians have thronged to the waterfront this week to try to see the southern right whale that has been exploring Wellington Harbour from Petone to the ferry terminal.

Now there are concerns that the docile aquatic mammal would have been endangered by the explosive ten-minute display of light and sound from 6:30pm on Saturday evening. Saturday evening’s Sky Show had been planned to cap off a month of Matariki events, preceding the Hurricanes playing the Blues at Westpac Stadium.

The southern right whale has attracted nicknames, both with a Michael Jackson connection: “Bubbles”, which is the name of the 35-year-old chimpanzee formerly owned by the late pop star, and “Free Welly”, from the film Free Willy for which Jackson provided the theme song.

Numerous photographs and videos have flooded on to social media.

On Thursday, Wellington City Councillor Simon Woolf joined thousands of people packing Oriental Bay. The owner of Woolf Photography, he always carries his camera and 50mm-500m lens with him, and captured a spectacular shot of the whale in front of the Beehive, which he posted on Twitter.


Photograph by Simon Woolf, Thursday

Other images were provided by Wellington journalist and photographer Peter Dyer, and photojournalist Sean Gillespie who works in communications and strategy.


Source: Twitter, by Krystle Field used with permission

Krystle Field, who works in the CBD, posted this picture (above) to Twitter of the Wellington Whale breaching in the harbour.


Photo: Wellington based photojournalist Sean Gillespie


Photo: Wellington Journalist and Photographer Peter Dyer Thursday

It is not unusual for whales to come into Wellington harbour, but this was the first recorded sighting of a southern right whale since 2010, according to Department of Conservation marine species support officer Hannah Hendriks.

She advised whale watchers to keep at least 50 metres away from the whale. Collectively, no more than three vessels, including boats or kayaks, or aircraft or drones should be within 300m of any marine mammal. Swimming with whales is not permitted.

Police were patrolling the water on Thursday afternoon to ensure boats and kayaks kept their distance.

Southern right whales were once populous in New Zealand waters, with an estimated 50,000 active before Europeans arrived. There were two right whale populations in New Zealand – one in the sub-antarctic Auckland Islands and another that travelled along the coast and stuck closer to the mainland. They were hunted to near extinction and by the mid-1940s it’s thought there may have been 20 or less.

Right whales were given their name by whalers because they were the “right” whale to hunt. The whales were targeted by because of their slow, surface-skimming feeding behaviour and tendency to stay close to the coast. They also produced high yields of whale oil from their high blubber content, with the blubber keeping the whale afloat when killed.


Photo: Wellington based photojournalist Sean Gillespie

Photo: Wellington based photojournalist Sean Gillespie

An earlier version of this story first appeared on The Wellington App, a new local news and information iOS and Android mobile App which is partnering with Scoop for its launch.

The Wellington App Homepage
Download the App: iOS or Android

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url

1 comment:

  1. Trevor Hughes, 8. July 2018, 8:16

    Thanks are due to the whale for putting a stop to this laughable waste of ratepayers’ money. I hope the leviathan sticks around.