A team of researchers hoping to capture footage of killer whales off the coast of Albany for an Australian Broadcasting Corporation documentary conducted their first expedition this week.
Sydney freelance producer Mike Lynch said the team was in Albany to load deep sea research equipment onto the boat which would track orca movements in the waters where they were hunted previously.
“In an area where the ocean once perished, nature has returned and we are taking a real chance as these ocean-dwelling marine mammals are very difficult to locate, let alone study,” he said.
On Monday, the team filmed at Albany’s historic whaling station.
“It is extraordinary, there is a map on the wall that locates where whales have been captured and killed in the last few years of the whaling industry, and that’s the exact area we hope to see a resurgence of marine mammals,” he said.
The researchers plan to move westwards against the Leeuwin current, with warm water moving annually west to east — a path whales are believed to follow.
“(They) come from Antarctica and hook into the current … right off the south-western tip and aggregate directly to the west of Albany where they used to be hunted, and then head back south into Antarctic waters,” he said.
“We are trying to figure out if there is any behaviour we can identify and movement we can track.”Mr Lynch said the film aimed to capture the audience’s imagination and be a first step to establishing tourist interest in the southern ocean area.
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