Desperate attempts are under way to save a baby humpback whale which is trying to bond with yachts in Sydney harbour, after mistaking the boats for its mother.
Rescuers from the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service towed the yacht out to sea hoping to entice the calf to find other whales who would adopt it. Eventually the calf detached itself from the boat, although it remained swimming close to it.
However today the baby whale had returned to the Pittwater basin, where spotted swimming “rather energetically” around other yachts in the area.
The race is now on to save it, but wildlife experts are pessimistic about their chances.
The calf, which needs urgently to find a mother to suckle to, is in “grim danger” if it does not find a substitute,said John Dengate, a spokesman for the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service. The only option is for the calf to find another pod of whales with a mother who can adopt it.
“We’ve wracked our brains to think of some kind of captive approach we can do, by taking it in and rearing it ourselves, but it seems to be impossible in Australia, and possibly around the world,” Mr Dengate said.
Mr Dengate said at least one or two humpback whale calves usually wash ashore each year. Just last month one was found washed up at Ballina in northern NSW.
“There’s not much more time this little thing can survive without being fed,” Mr Dengate said. “It’s a grim situation.”