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New lease of life for original lighthouse vents

15/05/2018

As part of the ongoing conservation of the Cape Bruny and Maatsuyker Island lighthouses, a team effort has been underway to restore the original bronze vents from the lighthouses' lantern rooms.More

Record visitor numbers at Highfield Historic Site

09/05/2018

Visitation numbers at Highfield Historic Site in Stanley have reached a record high, with 12,535 people visiting in the 12 months ending March 2018.More

Cradle Mountain shuttle bus tender awarded

08/05/2018

A new bus fleet featuring environmentally friendly technology and vehicles with improved accessibility and increased capacity will help to meet increasing visitor numbers following the awarding of the tender to McDermott Coaches.More

Brydes Whale

Drawing by Graham Sanders
Bryde’s Whales (pronounced broodus) reach up to 15m in females. They are the second smallest of the baleen whales. They were often confused with Sei Whales but can be easily distinguished by the three longitudinal ridges that run along the rostrum (from tip of snout to blowhole). A quarter of the body is made up of the head which features about 250-400 coarse grey baleen plates. They are generally dark grey to blue black above and lighter cream grey below. The dark grey extends to include the flippers and throat grooves. Unlike the Sei Whale these throat grooves extend beyond the navel. They have an erect, curved pointed dorsal fin located far down their back and unlike the tail fluke is exposed when surfacing. The tall dorsal fin rises abruptly from the back compared to that of Sei or Fin whales. Bryde’s Whales generally appear individually or as pairs and may moan when on the surface. They are voracious feeders and often seen in the vicinity of high fish abundance with flocks of birds and other marine predators. Like Minke Whales they will often approach vessels.

General Information

Bryde’s Whales occur in temperate to tropical waters both oceanic and inshore. South Africa has some resident inshore populations but most whales do appear to migrate to more tropical areas during winter following pelagic fish populations. There appears to be two forms of this whale, one being smaller and not reaching more than 12m in length and living closer inshore. They can reach up to 50 years in age. Newborns are around 3.4m in length and are generally born in winter in the migratory group. They feed on schooling fish such as anchovy and mackeral.

Stranding Information

Sightings of Bryde’s Whales have been reported from most Australian states as well as around a dozen strandings with most from New South Wales and only two from Tasmania, the most recent in Jaanuary 2013 at Ralphs Bay. Pollution, especially plastic debris is considered a threat to these whales. An 8m whale washed up in Queensland with close to 6 square meters of plastic in its stomach. Collisions are another threat with a Bryde's Whale colliding with a vessel off northern Tasmania. Of the 38 strandings of Bryde’s Whales in northern New Zealand over 20 years, 13 were calves that had collided with vessels. Bryde’s are the most common baleen whale in New Zealand. Climate change may impact on their distribution