11 Jul 2009

Flurry of whale-spotting activity in Cook Strait

9:21 pm on 11 July 2009

A Department of Conservation programme to identify humpback whales migrating north through Cook Strait has ended with a flurry of activity.

At least 10 humpbacks were spotted Friday by former whalers from a hut at the Tory Channel heads in the Marlborough Sounds.

The sighting brings to nearly 50 the number seen in the past month.

DoC staff in a chase boat have been able to collect skin samples and take photographs of some of the whales.

The programme is in its sixth winter and will resume next year.

DoC says much is being learned about the behaviour and movement of the whales, but no population estimate can be made yet.