Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness                                                                                                                                                 Pam & Wayne Osborn

Humpback Whales - Ship Strikes


Battle Scars


As the number of humpback whales increases and shipping traffic  increases, the risk of collision from both recreational and commercial vessels grows.


In the top image, his new season's calf bears a deep scar from a small boat collision in Exmouth Gulf. During the southern humpback migration, Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia swells with resting mother and calf pairs.  There are no speed restrictions for boats and the welfare of the whales depends on skippers being vigilant - a difficult task when travelling into the sun.  In this case the skipper got it wrong.  A humpback calf was killed recently in waters off Perth when run-over by a large powerboat.


The middle two images show shaved dorsal fins. The whales seem to recover from these injuries. The last image show a whale that has taken two hits. The first ahead of the dorsal fins has completely healed and the second scar below the fin is still raw.  This was an adult female with a new-season calf in Exmouth Gulf.