Whales are among the most loved yet least understood
mammals, but for centuries people have hunted them, some species almost to
extinction. Tasmania in the 19th century was a focal point for whaling in the
Southern Ocean. This even extended to our estuarine waters, particularly the
River Derwent. Today, in most countries, there is a different attitude and
whales are mostly "hunted" by whale-watchers with cameras rather than
harpoons. Despite this, whaling still persists in some countries.
Whales are becoming a more common sight in Tasmanian waters,
particularly during the migration season. This is usually from June through
spring, when whales travel north from Antarctica to the breeding grounds in the
warmer waters of north-eastern Australia. There are now regular sightings as
far up the Derwent as the Tasman Bridge. Unfortunately, some migrating whales
fall victim to nature, becoming beached and often perishing on our shores.
the books available in your library that feature whales. Categorise these
under fiction and non-fiction. Review two books from each category and
compare the general message each gives about whales
would be your focus if you were asked to write a book about whales? Would
it be about whale conservation, the adventure of an historical whaling
expedition, a famous whale, a scientific journal, etc? Write a brief
description of the book and make a contents page outlining each chapter.
on graph paper the ocean depths a variety of whales inhabit. Make scale
drawings of each of the species. Use your scale drawings to determine if a
relationship exists between the size of a whale and the depths it can
the distances travelled by humpback whales between their feeding and
breeding grounds. How far do they travel each year?
the migratory paths of two baleen whale species on a map of the world.
Provide notes about the whales' behaviour en-route. Where and when can
whales be seen from shore in Australia?
has recently backed down on plans to kill hundreds of whales. Try to find
out more about how this situation came about. Make a five-stage plan of
action to turn the mammals into a tourist attraction.
a flowchart to show how whales evolved from land dwelling creatures such
as the pakicetus from the Eocene period more than 50million years ago.
these commonly asked questions. How intelligent are whales? Why do whales
get stranded on beaches? Should whales be kept in captivity? Will we ever
be able to talk to whales?
of the organisations that work to help conserve the world's whale
population have websites, e.g. Green Peace and WorldWide Fund for Nature.
Make a directory of whale conservation sites. Use the websites to find out
what these groups do to help protect whales. Review one of these websites.
List three actions you can take to help save whales.
some countries whale is considered a luxury food. Make a persuasive
advertisement to discourage the consumption of whale products.
Whale Watching Guidelines
The official guidelines for what you can and can't do while
National Whale Conservation Fund Website
Some beautiful graphics of whales combined with plenty of
information makes this a worthwhile site to visit.
History of Whaling In Australia
Includes information, pictures and videoclips on whaling in
The Watery World of Whales
Includes information on the history of whaling in Australia.
By Granville Allen Mawer
A look at the long and fascinating history of south seas
whaling. (Allen & Unwin)
Killers of Eden
By Tom Mead
Tells the story of the killer whales of Twofold Bay who used
to help whalers capture their prey. (Dolphin Books)
Killers in Eden
By Danielle Clode
A more recent work on the killer whales of Twofold Bay with
information on the history of whaling in Australia. (Allen & Unwin)
Whales, Dolphins and Porpoises: DK Handbook
By Mark Cawardine
Information on the many different species of cetaceans as
well as a brief section on the human relationship with them. (Dorling
Whale: Eyewitness Guide
By Vassili Papastavrou
An illustrated look at whales, whaling and whale watching
done in the style which only DK can do. (Dorling Kindersley)