The Liberal Agenda – Widespread whale and dolphin watching, this weekend 19-20 June


New Zealand’s ‘Humpback highway’ has been busy this week as the whales pass by on their annual migration to warmer waters to feed and breed. 

Organisers of this weekend’s whale and dolphin survey hope that will mean lots of sightings for keen watchers around the country.

This weekend is the second annual public whale and dolphin survey or ‘Citizen Science Cetacean Census’. Organisers are hoping to celebrate New Zealand’s cetacean diversity, to improve conservation outcomes and to establish both a base line and a longer-term body of knowledge through citizen science. 

From headlands and highpoints across New Zealand, whale and dolphin spotters will be looking out to sea and recording sightings of any marine mammals.

“Some lucky spotters might even get two for one”, says organiser Christine Rose – “as in the case this week when visitors to Akaroa Harbour saw Humpbacks and Hector’s dolphins”. 

The Cetacean Census is facilitated through the Cetacean Spotting NZ Facebook page, and so far there are spotters deployed at  around forty locations throughout the country, with more likely to join on the day.  

Taking part is easy – you just have to look at the sea! Everyone is invited to choose a vantage point and spend a couple of hours staring out to sea, recording marine mammals. People can join an existing group or form their own. Sites are registered on the roster on the Cetacean Spotting Facebook page, and sightings are also recorded on an easy Google document. 

To find out more or take part, visit Cetacean Spotting NZ.

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