Southern Right Whale (Tohora) Visits Wellington Harbour

Early settlers in Wellington used to complain that the noise of the Southern Right Whale (Tohora) blowing kept them awake at night. Nineteenth Century whaling hit these gentle giants hard and by 1936, when they were protected, they were on the verge of extinction.

On the eve of our 8th Wedding Anniversary a Tohora made an appearance in Wellington harbour, the first reported sighting in four years. The visit coincides with a call from the Department of Conservation for people to report sightings (Call: 0800 DOCHOTLINE 362 468). Southern right whales spend a large portion of their winter breeding months (June ‚Äì September) very close to the shore in sheltered waters and are very confident. Let’s hope this sighting is one of many more to come!

Southern right whale, in front of Makaro/Ward Island. Photo credit: Andrew Morrison/DOC.