Southern right whales headed to SA and you can adopt one

Winter means whale season and it’s an exciting one for marine enthusiasts. The Southern right whale, Eubalaena australis, is a baleen whale species only found in the Southern Hemisphere and a winter visitor to South Africa.

They undertake an annual migration from their summer feeding grounds in sub-Antarctic waters, to their winter mating and calving grounds in coastal areas in higher latitudes, such as the coast of southern Africa.

This whale is one of three species within the right family. The other two are the North Atlantic right whale and the North Pacific Right whale. Both species are listed as endangered on the IUCN’s Red List.

The IUCN lists the Southern right whale as ‘least concern’ on its Red List.

Southern right whale females give birth to a calf around every three years. After a pregnancy of 12 months, the female will give birth to a single calf that will stay with her suckling for approximately one year. They mate generally between July and August each year.

These gentle giants will be enjoying our waters soon, and lucky whale watchers will see them frolic in the water as they are known to come fairly close to shore.

To help protect and learn more about these species, the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit of the University of Pretoria researches the ecology, population dynamics and behaviour of cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) in Southern African waters. Anyone can support them by ‘adopting’ a whale for as little as R400 per year.

The new adoptive guardian will receive the following:

– An official adoption certificate

– Your adopted whale profile

– A complete southern right whale information sheet

– A high quality photo of the year 

– An annual newsletter with up-to-date information on South Africa´s southern right whales, with special mention of your whale

Professionals can also sponsor a whale. This means a business can link their name and logo to a chosen whale. ‘Become a whale sponsor as part of your corporate environmental responsibility and obtain branding rights of your whale. For the duration of your sponsorship, your logo will be linked to your sponsored whale on this website, as well as on all other material produced,’ the website states.

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