Baby humpback returned to ocean

MARINE animal rescue workers have put a humpback whale calf that was stranded on Surfers Paradise Beach back into the water.

The one-week-old male calf was towed back in the water in an effort to locate the mother.  The whale is swimming freely about 1 kilometre off shore.

Workers hope that the mother will hear the calf’s call and return to the beach where the 1.5-tonne whale was stranded at about 1am this morning.

Coolangatta Whale Watch co-owner Carol Hunt was on the water this morning with other boats searching for the mother.

Helicopters were also conducting an air search for the mother.

“Finding the mother is the only way that this calf will survive,” Mrs Hunt said.

“She is going to be difficult to find.  We will be looking for a distress female swimming in circles, and even that is hard to spot.”

Mrs Hunt said the search was a race against time.

“The calf was stranded since 1am, so it’s been on the beach for a long time,” she said.

Director Marine Sciences Trevor Long said the mother was vital for the calf’s survival.

“Whale can communicate over very long distances in the water,” Mr Long said.

Mr Long said a boat would stay with the calf all day and a decision on euthanising the calf would be made then.

Seaworld Marine Rescue and Queensland Parks and Wildlife officers use an excavator and harness to move the mammal into the water about 10.30am.



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