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White Whale

White Whale

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AP Photo/NRETAS, Kiki Dethmers, HOSee videos below�of last years visit by Migaloo the albino whaleAustralian whale watchers cheered this week when Migaloo, the worlds only known albino humpback�whale, was spotted� off Queensland coast.

His iridescent white coloring has attracted tourists and locals since he was first spotted in 1991 passing Byron Bay, Australia's most eastern point.�� Migaloo is named� from one of the languages of the Indigenous Australians�; it means "white fellow."At one time about 30,000 humpbacks used the migration route past Australia, but Migaloo is now one of only about�11,000 humpbacks who migrate from their feeding ground in Antarctica to different parts of the world each southern winter.

At one time in the 1960's the numbers had dwindled to less than 200 individual whales.Migaloo has�been declared a whale of special interest, and special rules have been put in place to keep the tourists flocking to see him at least 1,600 away.

Preserving and protecting whales has become an important environmental as well as financial cause.��Migaloo is a white humpback whale that was first observed in 1991 off Byron Bay when it was estimated to be 3-5 years of age.

Migaloo was sighted by swimming north of Undine Cay near Port Douglas on the 24th July 2007.

On the Great Barrier by the Catamaran Silversonic. ����We present to you the voice of Migaloo, the White Whale.

We thought it appropriate that Migaloo be granted the opportunity to speak before the meeting of the International Whaling Commission.

As speakers are allowed only a few minutes to present their case, we extracted only the most poignant statements from our 1998 recording of Migaloo's two hour discourse.

'Migaloo' means 'White Fella'.

He was named by Australian Aboriginal Elders.The images are highlights from close extended pod encounters between 1988 and 2008.

For images of Migaloo, please view the encounter as narrated by our intern Dave Williams:''One of the great thrills of my life was hearing and feeling Migaloo's voice pass through my body as he swam past The Oceania Project's research vessel on October 2, 1998.''~Dave WilliamsThe song is clearly audible through the hull of the research vessel.

Depending on the proximity of the singer, the song is also audible standing on the deck.

The sound pressure level of their song is reduced significantly once it passes into the air.

Whales speak to each other constantly.

The cadence and syncopation of their normal conversations are much different from that of their songs.

They often make sounds above water through their nostrils.�Because water is denser than air it is a much better conduit for sound.

If a singer is close you can hear him or her in much the same way standing on the deck as our recordings sound on YouTube.

Of course the moment you enter the water, which we don't because it is illegal and unnecessary, the sound is felt at it's full sound pressure level, the equivalent of a jack hammer or loud rock concert.��We are working on several papers related to whale 'language'.

The term 'language' in relation to Humpback Whales is not yet accepted by the scientific community so we are careful about using it.

Although we firmly believe that whales of all species have highly evolved languages.Three researchers in Hawaii, two computer engineers and a marine biologist, have created a computer application to asses the entropy of whale sounds (loss of energy from a system in this case sound frequency) and have compared them to a range of human languages.

They have concluded that Humpback sounds are equivalent to human languages.

They used the recordings of Dr.

Roger and Katy Payne, made in the 1970s, who were the first scientists to recognize that the unique sounds made by Humpback Whales were in fact conscious, complex evolving songs.From an original population of over 60,000, the East Australian Humpback Whales were hunted to the brink of extinction.

They were saved only by the collapse of the whaling industry when less than 100 whales remained.In what can be appreciated as a wonderful symbol of an enlightened human desire to restore balance to this fragile planet after centuries of ignorant exploitation, the East Australian Humpback Whales have been allowed to recover to an estimated population of over 10,000.When ecosystems across the planet are collapsing and species are becoming extinct at an accelerating rate, the East Australian Humpback Whales are making a remarkable recovery.They have become Australia's national treasure and a symbol of hope for our imperiled environment.Established in 1988, The Oceania Project is an independent, non-profit research organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales, dolphins and the oceans. first phase of a long-term study of the East Australian Humpback Whales has been the major work of The Oceania .������������Source: Times Online, Channel 4 news
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