Migaloo, Australia’s most famous white humpback whale, is apparently missing but authorities believe that it could have reached the Great Barrier Reef already. A vessel from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has been monitoring Migaloo during its yearly migration since other boats on the Gold Coast got too close to him last week.
According to Environment Minister Steven Miles, the rare white whale was last seen close to Fraser Island on Friday afternoon. However, it was not one of the group of 50 whales that also passed nearby afterward.
“The truth is, although we know whales’ general migratory habits, including Migaloo’s, it and the rest of the whales who frequent our waters are wild animals that aren’t tagged and that move at their own pace,” points out Environment Minister Steven Miles. “Unfortunately, Migaloo doesn’t have a travel agent.”
Apparently, Migaloo is travelling with a younger male friend. This has been going on and off in the past six years.
Although many people have expressed their concern about the white whale’s safety, the authorities assure that there is a special protection area for the whale of up to 500 meters for boats and other vessels and at least 610 meters for aircraft. Usually, the regulation for other whales is at least 100 meters for boats and vessels.
If a watercraft gets too close to the whale on purpose, the maximum penalty would be more than $20,000 or a $609 fine that will be paid on the spot.
Migaloo was first spotted in 1991 near Byron Bay. During this time, experts believe that the whale was still between three and five years old.
When the whale was first seen, it was the only known white whale in the world. During migration, Migaloo normally moves up the east coast of Australia from Antarctica to the warmer waters of Tropical North Queensland.