Hon­ours for whale ex­perts

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Leah Roberts

RAIS­ING two chil­dren on the high seas while map­ping the mi­gra­tion of hump­back whales was nor­mal life for marine bi­ol­o­gists Ken­neth Curt and Miche­line-Ni­cole Jen­ner.

The hus­band-and-wife team were ap­pointed a Mem­ber of the Or­der of Aus­tralia (AM) as part of the Queen’s Birth­day 2018 Hon­ours List yes­ter­day.

The Fre­man­tle res­i­dents orig­i­nally be­gan their re­search by count­ing the pop­u­la­tion of hump­back whales, ac­cord­ing to Mr Curt.

“We were able to map the bound­aries of the Hump­back whale cav­ing grounds in the wilder­ness of the Kim­ber­ley,” he said.

“We then helped the gov­ern­ment cre­ate a marine sanc­tu­ary there for calv­ing whales.

“We then headed to Antarc­tica to see where the calves feed.”

Ms Jen­ner said while the duo were build­ing a boat, she was also build­ing the crew with the birth of their chil­dren.

“Our first daugh­ter has lived on the boat since she was seven months old,” she said.

“One of the great­est achieve­ment was rais­ing our chil­dren on board whilst do­ing re­search. We didn’t lose any of them.”

They were both shocked when they re­ceived the hon­our of the Or­der of Aus­tralia and said it was a hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ms Jen­ner said she hoped in the fu­ture to un­der­stand and pro­tect pygmy blue whales.

“Our work is not done yet and we need to con­tinue our ef­forts to help those whales,” she said.

Daugh­ter Tas­min Jen­ner (then 14, left) with Mich and Ken­neth hold­ing the Ex­plor­ers Club Flag 69 aloft in the Antarc­tic.

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