Whales, Wildlife & Wilderness                                                                                                                                                 Pam & Wayne Osborn

Humpback Whales - The Wounded


Humpback Calf - Orca Attack Survivor


This new season's calf was lucky to survive an orca (killer whale) attack. Pods of killer whales lie in wait off Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia for the annual humpback whale migration and the new born calves.


This calf has been seriously mauled. A piece of blubber has been removed from behind the dorsal fin and there is extensive scarring.  It's mother must have put up a valiant defence and whilst it will carry the scars for life, the calf seems to be a survivor.  Most battles do not end so well for the intended victim.


These images show the extensive wounding on both side of the calf and scarring on the flukes where the orcas held it underwater trying to drown it.


Another Orca Attack Survivor


This adult humpback has had the dorsal fin completely severed.  The clue that this was not a result of a shipping collision is the scarring around the dorsal. This was confirmed as the whale dived exposing scarring on the flukes. Orcas (killer whales) work together to try and hold whales underwater to drown them. thse injuries may have occurred when this whale was just a calf.

This Survivor is a Mum


This female humpback shows typical scarring on the dorsal and flukes from an orca (killer whale) attack and has gone on to be a mum.  She and her calf were resting in Exmouth Gulf. The calf can be seen in the foreground of the bottom image.

Broken Dorsal - Self Inflicted?


This adult male is sporting a broken dorsal - a wound which may have been self inflicted.  He was travelling as an 'escort' with a female and calf. With males, sometimes testosterone rules and behaviour can be a touch aggressive.  It is likely that the broken section will separate with no lasting damage other than the disfigurement.

Whale Meet Again - 17 Year Whale Re-sight


On October 26 2009 Pam photographed this humpback north of Rottnest Island, Western Australia during a routine shoot for the Centre for Whale Research's (CWR) humpback catalogue. A large section of the flukes have been excised possibly from a predator attack.


CWR's Micheline Jenner recognised the whale immediately and checked their database. They first photographed this whale in June 1992 near the Monte Bello islands. At this time, the whale was heading north on the annual migration to the Kimberley waters and was travelling with one other adult whale. The section of fluke was missing then.


When we photographed this whale in October 2009, it was in a boisterous pod of 13 adults on their return to Antarctic seas to feed.


Micheline advised that at 17 years, it is the longest re-sight of any whale in their catalogue. May it plough the seas for many more years and hopefully whale meet again