AS a record number of whales make their way past Port Macquarie, the group dedicated to their preservation is asking locals to gear-up for the annual whale census.
ORRCA (Organisation for the Rescue and Research of Cetaceans in Australia) is asking locals to sign-up for the nation-wide whale count as soon as possible.
This allows the group to ensure all sighting locations are covered.
Port Macquarie is adorned with some of the most extraordinary whale watching platforms in Australia.
ORRCA is hoping marine lovers will make use of this privileged position on Sunday, June 30, anywhere from 8am until dusk.
The official viewing spot for Port Macquarie, is at the Tacking Point Lighthouse.
ORRCA officials, and representatives from the National Parks and Wildlife Service, will be there to share their insights and expertise.
All you have to bring is a sharp eye, a comfortable seat and some sun protection.
From picnic rugs, to viewing platforms and stationed boats in the water – volunteers all over Australia will also be gathering data for important research, said ORRCA’s president Ronny Ling.
“This a great opportunity for anyone interested in marine life or whales to witness one of the greatest phenomena of the natural world – the annual migration of our magnificent whales.”
The process is simple. You can download a sighting guide and log from ORRCA’s website or simply call their hotline on (02) 9415 3333 at the end of your stint and report your findings.
Anyone is welcome to join in for as long, or as little as they can, Mr Ling said.
At the end of the day, ORRCA passes the highly valued and collated data on to other advocacy groups, government bodies and researchers.
“Collecting this data and sharing it with other authorities allows us to back-up submissions for a number of issues including international whaling.
“Really, the day provides a great way for the locals to take ownership and some responsibility for the well-being of the whales.”
Port Macquarie-based ORRCA researcher Leigh Mansfield said the census day could be a great opportunity for locals to find out more about the organisation which helps protect and rescue whales in the area.
As whale numbers begin to visibly increase, Mr Mansfield said there becomes a greater chance of whale beaching, and this is where community education becomes paramount.
“The day helps us keep track of how many whales come past Port Macquarie and how many calves are being born each year,” Mr Mansfield said.
“We can also learn a lot about a whale’s personality by their behaviour.”
Among the many animals that have graced our shoreline are humpback whales, southern right whales, Bryde’s whales, common minke whales, dwarf minke whales, orca, false killer whales and short-finned pilot whales.
To get involved call the ORRCA Hotline on (02) 9415 3333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to add your spot to the list.
You can download the sighting guide and sighting log from www.orrca.org.au/marine-mammal-sightings-documentation