Category Archives: Whales

How to Inspire Students to Protect the Ocean in 2021

 

As environmental concerns gain increasing attention in the media, it is our responsibility to engage and educate children to ensure that they understand why the ocean is so important to us all and to inspire them to want to protect it. In the words of oceans’ pioneer Jacques Cousteau, “People protect what they love”.

So, here’s our pick of the key ocean events that we think will inspire students of all ages to want to protect the ocean in 2021.

 

SeaWeek Australia: 6 – 14 March 2021

2021 theme: The Ocean and Humans are Inextricably Interconnected

SeaWeek Australia is an annual major public awareness campaign which aims to educate and encourage appreciation of the sea. SeaWeek is a great opportunity to increase focus on the deeply woven relationship we have with the ocean and how our survival is underpinned by the health of our oceans.

Involve your school:          www.aaee.org.au/events/seaweek

More info:          www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/celebrate-seaweek-australia/

 

World Oceans Day: 8 June 2021

2021 theme: The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods

World Oceans Day 2021 is on a mission to deepen understanding of our relationship with the ocean and inspire action to protect it. This year the focus is on how the ocean is our life-source and supports humanity and every other organism on Earth. The focus is on key issues such as plastic pollution, rising water temperatures, overfishing, sewage dumps and other factors impacting the ocean’s ability to thrive as it should.

Involve your school:          worldoceanday.school

 

 World Whale Day: 20 February 2021

World Whale Day began in 1980 in Maui, Hawaii. It’s all about reminding us of the challenges whales face oceans across the globe. Observed annually on the third Sunday in February, World Whale Day celebrates everything about whales.

Involve your school:          www.wilderness.org.au/happy-world-whale-day

 

More info: https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/annual-humpback-whale-migration-east-coast-australia/

 

World Sea Turtle Day: 16 June 2021

World Sea Turtle Day is celebrated on 16 June annually as it is the birthday of Dr. Archie Carr, the so-called “father of sea turtle biology.”  His research highlighted the plight of sea turtles and drove community support to protect them and celebrate them annually on World Sea Turtle Day.

 

 

Involve your school:          conserveturtles.org/june-16th-is-world-sea-turtle-day/

 

Shark Awareness Day: 14 July 2021

Sharks get a huge amount of bad press, yet on average one person is killed by a shark in Australia each year and heaps more are killed by horses and cows!! Without sharks in Australian waters, many ecosystems would not be sustainable, and we would be denied the pleasure of exploring amazing underwater habitats such as the world’s largest natural wonder, Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef. The impact on tourism and economies would be huge. Shark Awareness Day aims to separate fact from myth and promote a positive image for these amazing creatures.

Involve your school:          www.sharktrust.org/blog/shark-awareness-day

More info: https://www.oceanlifeeducation.com.au/ultimate-sharks-facts/

 

Check out our Annual Events Calendar for even more great reasons to celebrate the ocean in 2021.

 

 

Lock in the Dates!

Remember to lock in the dates and get planning so you can make the most of these ocean celebrations at your school. Little ripples make big waves!

Bring Learning to Life With A Live Marine Animal Program

Why not book in an Ocean Life Education program to compliment your teaching and bring it all to life. All programs are delivered by qualified Marine Educators with a passion for the ocean. They provide a lively, fun, and interactive experience with our live marine animals and are designed to educate and inspire schools and community to protect our precious marine environment.

Fast Facts – Whale Sharks

whaleshark

Whale sharks are the largest fish in our oceans and can reach 40 feet or more. Whale sharks are slow moving filter-feeders. They feed by scooping up tiny plants and animals in their enormous gaping mouths as they glide close to the surface of the ocean. They are enormous and can weigh as much as 60 tons!!!

Are whale sharks really sharks?

 They have all the 33 characteristics of a shark such as a cartilage skeleton, five pairs of gills and unfused pectoral fins to the head. Unlike whales, they are not mammals and the young are not fed by the mother’s milk. Like sharks, whale sharks are fish.

Ten Amazing Facts About Whale Sharks

  1. The whale shark (Rhincodon typus) is the largest fish and shark in the world
  2. The whale shark is found in open waters of the tropical oceans and is rarely found in water below 22 °C (72 °F). They are usually restricted to around +- 30 degrees of latitude
  3. Scientists estimate that the lifespan of the whale shark ranges from 70 to 100 years
  4. The whale shark is also the largest non-cetacean animal in the world
  5. The average size of adult whale sharks is estimated at 9.7 meters (31.82 ft) and 9 tonnes (20,000 lb)
  6. The whale shark has over 300 to 350 rows of tiny teeth in its mouth
  7. Whale sharks are solitary creatures
  8. They spend most of their time near the surface
  9. The whale shark is a filter feeder, feeding mainly on plankton
  10. The whale shark can process over 6,000 litres (1,500 gallons) of water each hour

Annual Humpback Whale Migration – East Coast Australia

Each year between April and November, Australia’s eastern coastline comes alive with the spectacular acrobatic displays of humpback whales. After a summer of feeding on krill in Antarctic waters, these charismatic animals migrate north to sub-tropical waters where they mate and give birth. And we are lucky enough to be able to easily spot them on their travels from our majestic coastline!

During their annual migration of up to 10 000 kilometres, humpbacks can easily be seen off the coast of New South Wales and Queensland.

The exact timing of the migration period can vary from year to year depending on water temperature, sea ice, predation risk, prey abundance and the location of their feeding ground.

Humpback Migration Route and Timing

The majority of humpbacks in Australian waters migrate north from June to August, and back towards the Southern Ocean from September to November.

Migration Grouping

Groups of young males typically lead the migration while pregnant cows and cow-calf pairs bring up the rear. Adult breeding animals form the bulk of the migration in the middle stages.

Humpback Whale Facts

  • Humpback whale length: 12- 16 metres
  • Humpback whale weight: up to 50 tonnes or 6 elephants!
  • Average birth weight of humpback: 2 tonnes
  • Birth length: 4-5 metres
  • Humpback whale gestation period: 11 months
  • Favoured birth temperature: 22-25 degrees
  • Origin of Humpback Whale name: the name comes from their very long pectoral fins and knobby looking head which looks a bit like a hump!
  • Easily tracked as identifiable by the unique markings on their tail fluke – so we can learn lots about them!
  • Humpback whale travel speed: up to 8 km an hour
  • Migration travel speed: humpback average only 1.6km an hour during the migration as they rest and socialise along the way
  • Humpbacks sing songs that may be heard hundreds of kilometres away
  • East Coast Australia’s most famous humpback whale is white and has an Aboriginal name, ‘Migaloo’ which means white fella.

The humpback whale is not the largest whale found in Australian waters but we reckon its’ the most iconic.