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almost hunted to extinction Southern Right Whale

Noongar word - Mammang

Hear all about it!

Southern Right Whales form large groups in breeding areas but otherwise live in small groups or on their own. They are slow swimmers but can be very acrobatic. They can “head stand” by tipping themselves vertical and waving their flukes in the air.

Occasionally they will breach (jump out of the water) up to ten times in a row. Southern Right Whales will often use their broad fins to ’sail’ by sticking them out of the water to catch the wind. Their feeding grounds are in the cold Antarctic waters. They migrate to their warmer breeding grounds further north in the waters around Australia, South Africa and South America.

Threats include; climate change affecting their migration routes, breeding and feeding sites and food supply. Illegal whaling, pollution, noise pollution (noise from ships and seismic surveying), injury from shipping and stranding.

Where you can find a Southern Right Whale

Conservation Status

Listed as Least Concern under ICUN (2014). Listed as Vulnerable (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia). The waters around Rottnest Island are a designated Marine Reserve. All cetaceans are protected within the Australian Whale Sanctuary under the EPBC Act. The Sanctuary includes all Commonwealth waters from the three nautical mile State waters limit out to the boundary of the Exclusive Economic Zone (out to 200 nm and further in some places). The EPBC Act also classifies Southern Right Whales as Endangered.
  • Extinct
  • Extinct in Wild
  • Critically Endangered
  • Endangered
  • Vulnerable
  • Near Threatened
  • Least Concerned

Help protect Rottnest's marine environment

  • Do Not approach whales when boating
  • Do enjoy watching them on their own terms
  • Do take litter with you or use bins provided
  • Do collect fishing line if seen in ocean or on shores

Got a suggestion?

We're always open to feedback on how we can improve Rottnest Island for our visitors and wildlife!