Our Latest News

Campfire restrictions extended due to increasing fire risk

19/01/2018

In the interests of public safety, the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has brought in extensive campfire restrictions as the fire risk continues to increase this summer.More

Improved toilet facilities at Bruny Island

16/01/2018

The Parks and Wildlife Service has completed work on a new toilet facility at the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve.More

Further upgrade to South Coast Track

05/01/2018

The South Coast Track is one of Tasmania's great bushwalks, and the completion of recent upgrades has significantly improved the user experience along the track before the start of the peak walking season.More

Minke Whale

Minke Whale(Photograph by Angela Anderson)
Minke Whales belong to the group of baleen whales known as fin whales as they have a small triangular dorsal fin which is sickle or hook-shaped. They are only about the size of a juvenile Humpback but lack the large pectoral fin and the tail is rarely seen during dives. They are dark grey in colour on the upper/dorsal surface and pale underneath. They have a more solid body shape than other fin whales and sometimes have a white band on the flipper. They are sometimes referred to as the Piked Whale because of their sharply pointed head.

General Information

There are two species of Minke. The first is the Common Minke B. acutorostrata restricted to the northern hemisphere with a dwarf subspecies occurring in the Southern Hemisphere which reaches up to 7m in the female. The second is the Antarctic southern minke B. bonaerensis which can reach up to 9m. Minke Whales are the second smallest of the baleen whales. The female is larger than the male and can weigh up to 10 ton. Newborns are less than 3m in length. Minke Whales breed yearly and occur in small dispersed groups or as individuals. They mostly feed on krill and small fish. They generally are seen offshore during their migration north to breeding grounds or on their return south over spring to early summer.

Stranding Information

Distribution map of sightings and strandings (click to enlarge)
Minke Whales are the second most common stranding baleen whale in Tasmania. There are at least 20 records of these animals stranding in Tasmania and in most cases they are single animals either females or juveniles. In general it appears that females or juveniles have stranded due to misadventure and the rescue success of refloating these whales has been very rewarding with very few restranding episodes. Their small size and weight make them easily handled by rescuers. Most strandings occur singly along Tasmania’s east and southern coasts and they similar numbers of strandings have occurred in New Zealand with similar refloating outcomes.