WATCH OUT FOR WHITE WHALE
WHITSUNDAY locals are certain the white whale spotted off Surfers Paradise last week is our long-lost Chalkie, the white calf that was named in the Whitsundays four years ago.
It was rumoured the white whale spotted could be the son of famous Queensland visitor Migaloo, although Whitsunday Escape reservations manager Alita De Brincat said after close scrutinising of the birthmark in old and new footage, the evidence is “clear as a bell”.
“The photo is from the original 2011 photos when he was first spotted right here in the Whitsundays. The video screen grab is from Gold Coast footage. It’s unmistakeable isn’t it?” Ms De Brincat said.
“Having been involved in the original naming competition when the whale was born in the Whitsundays in 2011, we’d love the rest of the world to adopt the official name he was given, Chalkie,” she said.
“It’s reflective of both the colour of his skin, as well as the area where he was born.”
“Chalkie’s Beach is a beautiful white silica sand beach opposite Whitehaven Beach, one of Australia’s most famous beaches – it’s quite fit- ting.” Whitsunday Escape had held grave fears for Chalkie’s welfare, because he had not been seen since he was born.
“Scientists advised that many young whales do not live to adulthood, and his coloration would be an additional hindrance to his survival, making him stand out to predators,” Ms De Brincat said.
Whitsunday Escape be- lieves Chalkie is a male and is not believed to be Migaloo’s offspring because the lack of pigmentation is unlikely to be hereditary.
Boaties are being urged to stay a safe distance from whales, with special rules for white whales such as Migaloo and Chalkie.
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection senior wildlife officer Adam Northam said recent sightings of Migaloo were unconfirmed.
“In Queensland, whales that are totally white or predominantly white are declared ‘ special interest marine mammals’,” Mr Northam said.
“This gives these whales extra protection from disturbances by increasing the distance that boats and other watercraft must keep from them,” he said.
“Under the Nature Conservation Act, a ‘no approach zone’ of 500 metres applies for boats and jet skis and aircraft must not fly closer than 610 metres to special interest whales.
“Tough penalties apply to anyone who breaches the ‘no approach zone’ with a maximum penalty of $19,437.
So keep your cameras at the ready, in case you spot our dear old friend.
If you do grab a snap, email your image to editor@ whitsundaytimes.com.au and check out Chalkie’s Facebook page www.face book.com.au/chalkiethe whitewhale.
COULD IT BE: A comparison of recent footage and an image snapped in the Whitsundays..