Who is Migaloo the white whale, and where can I find him?
Australia biggest (literally, he’s over 25 tonnes!) celebrity, Migaloo, is a white whale that has everyone saying, “have you seen Migaloo yet?”. The superstar humpback is adored all over the world as one of the only living albino whales. He is part of the Eastern Australian whale migration that sees over 35,000 humpbacks make their way to the warm breeding grounds of Northern Queensland.
When was Migaloo first spotted?
Migaloo was first spotted off of Cape Byron in 1991by a group of volunteers conducting a whale count. Since his first sighting, he has been reported to have been seen over 50 times.
How old is Migaloo?
When Migaloo was first spotted, they estimated his age to be roughly three years old. In 2019 he celebrated his 30th birthday. Humpback whales can live up to 50 years old, so there is still plenty of time for our favourite white whale. However, scientists have noticed that Migaloo was swimming further away from the coastline over the last few years. They believe this could be due to his maturity or survival from other whales or predators.
How did Migaloo get his name?
Once Migaloo was discovered, Australia was eager to name him. It was decided that the elders of the Indigenous community would have the honour of naming him. They chose the name Migaloo which translates to ‘white fella’.
Is Migaloo protected?
Migaloo is protected under Queensland and Commonwealth Government legislation, which states that no vessel can get within 500 metres of him. These laws are necessary to prevent excited whale watchers from getting too close and harming Migaloo. An example of this was in 2003 when a boat got too close and scarred his back.
Are there any other white whales in the world?
Migaloo, as rare as he is, isn’t the only white whale in Australia. He is one of the unique handfuls of white whales in the world. His special counterparts are named Willow, Bahloo and Migaloo Jr; a calf spotted in 2011 with a normally pigmented mother. The calves father is unknown, but some speculate he could quite possibly be Migaloo’s offspring. They haven’t been able to test this theory just yet due to the lack of DNA from Migaloo Jr.
Where can I see Migaloo?
There currently haven’t been any confirmed sightings of Migaloo in 2021. In early April, there were reports of a white whale seen off of the Victorian coast. Following Migaloos previous migration patterns, it is doubtful that this was indeed Migaloo. In 2020, the humpback was seen at Port Macquarie towards the latter end of June. There is a good chance he may follow similar times as last year.
We are eager to find him during this year’s 2021 whale watching season. Keep an eye out on our Instagram page for Migaloo updates, or follow the #migaloowatch hashtag.