Survey 78 volunteers, crew and special guests on The Big Duck

IFAW National Whale Day celebrations were held on June 13th on the 78th survey for the Citizen Science volunteers, and they were joined by some special guests for the occasion.

The members of Kangaroo Island/Victor Harbor Dolphin Watch took to the waters of Encounter Bay with Tourism Minister Leon Bignell, advisor Lucy Anderson and Channel 9 film crew Brendan and Lincoln. They saw only small toothed whales – Bottlenose dolphins, including some well known residents who were positively identified at a workshop at the SA Whale Centre the following day, but ….what a delight it was!

The 15 captivating dolphins were frolicking in close proximity to The Big Duck while busily engaging in fishing activities off Boomer Beach, in perfect conditions.

It is a known fact that we have greater biodiversity in our regional waters than in the whole of the Great Barrier Reef. This includes a large number of cetacean species, both large and small – whales and dolphins. Migrating whales visit our shores seasonally but dolphins are here all months of the year. This provides us with fantastic opportunities to enjoy the whales but also carries the responsibility for minimising our impacts and caring for them and their habitat – our oceans.

A wonderful way to show the Minister the vital Citizen Science work undertaken, gathering invaluable data to inform conservation efforts, and display Ecotourism at its best. The fantastic quality of experiences such as these in our region was reflected upon in the Minister’s speech to the volunteers at the celebration lunch at the Crown Hotel following the survey. Our grateful thanks to our very special guests for kindly making the effort to join us to help us celebrate, our wonderful volunteers and supporters for over 6 years of research effort and to the mighty Big Duck owners, skippers and crew for making it all happen.

On IFAW’S National Whale Day in June each year, we celebrate these magnificent sentient beings, but also consider our need to care for them. Some species like the playful Humpbacks and majestic Blue Whales visit across many months and are considered to be recovering to pre-whaling numbers but Southern Right Whales appear to still be in trouble.

We all need to consider carefully our impacts upon our oceans. Thank you to all who contribute to caring for the cetaceans in our waters. So thrilled to know the majestic larger whales have since arrived in Victor Harbor – such an important Whale Sanctuary to treasure and protect.

Minister Leon Bignell and advisor Lucy Anderson