BBC News

Whale calf seen pushing stranded mother off sandbank

media captionWhale calf 'helps' push its stranded mother to safety

A humpback whale which was stranded on an Australian sandbank has freed itself after its calf was seen apparently nudging it into deeper water.

The whale was spotted near North Stradbroke Island, about 80km (50 miles) east of Brisbane, early on Wednesday morning.

Her distressed calf was later seen apparently pushing her as she splashed in the water to get free.

About 40 minutes after getting stuck, the whale was able to dislodge herself.

media captionWhale calf tries to push its stranded mother to safety

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Services (QPWS) personnel were despatched to help the pair and planned to stabilise them until a team from Sea World, further along the coast, could arrive to help free them.

But incoming tides and the efforts of the young whale helped the mother get off the sandbank before they arrived.

image copyrightQPWS
image captionThe pair are also believed to have been stranded nearby overnight, before becoming stuck again

"The whale was able to free itself and the adult and the calf were able to swim away," a spokesperson for QPWS told the BBC, adding that they successfully helped the pair out through shallow waters to the open sea.

"The mother was a bit tired and distressed".

image copyrightQPWS
image captionQPWS followed the pair to help them make it to deep water and avoid "restranding"

Whales are common at this time of year on the Queensland coast, where many go to give birth and begin rearing their calves before heading back to Antarctic waters.

Related Topics

  • Nature
  • Whales
  • Australia

More on this story

  • Drone films white southern right whale calf off Australia