It's whale season! 'Whether you see 5 or 500 – it's an amazing experience!'


66 days ago

It’s whale season again!

There is a whole coastline along which you can see these majestic mammals, though tourists usually flock to Hermanus and surrounding towns.

“The southern right whale’s main spread is from Simonstown, Hermanus, Gansbaai to De Hoop,” says Pierre de Villiers, Programme Manager: Marine Protected Areas at Cape Nature.



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“There are about 18 000 southern right whales,” he says.

“South Africa normally has about a third of that visiting our coast.”

The Western Cape had a bumper whale season in 2018.

However, in 2019 fewer southern right whales came to our shores, and 2020 looks to be a bit thin as well.

“It’s a complex, global migration,” said De Villiers.

“We don’t know, for example, why they come to South Africa and not Australia and vice versa.”

John Maytham (in for Refilwe Moloto) interviewed De Villiers.

They are indicator species of climate changes… They’re telling us something very important. We, as humans, still have to grasp what these animals and many others are telling us about the changing climate…

Pierre de Villiers, Programme Manager: Marine Protected Areas - Cape Nature

If the females fail to calve… that’s when you need to worry.

Pierre de Villiers, Programme Manager: Marine Protected Areas - Cape Nature

In the 1920s there was a [southern right whale] population of 60 breeding females [in the world]. That’s up to 18 000 now – an amazing conservation success story!

Pierre de Villiers, Programme Manager: Marine Protected Areas - Cape Nature

The tourism industry can make a lot of money from a few whales… It’s still an amazing experience whether you see five or 500… There are enough whales now for the industry to function…

Pierre de Villiers, Programme Manager: Marine Protected Areas - Cape Nature

Listen to the interview in the audio below.

This article first appeared on CapeTalk : It's whale season! 'Whether you see 5 or 500 – it's an amazing experience!'

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