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PWS - Fires update and impacts

20/02/2019

Background: A number of fires were ignited by dry lightning that crossed the state in late December 2018 and mid-January 2019. The storms of 15 January 2019 resulted in approximately 2,400 lightning strikes and caused over 60 new ignitions.More

PWS Fire Update - Friday 15 February 2019

15/02/2019

Parks and Wildlife Tasmania (PWS) can advise the following locations, reserves and tracks have been re-opened today (Friday 15 February).More

PWS Fire Update - Thursday 14 February 2019

14/02/2019

Parks and Wildlife Tasmania (PWS) can advise the following locations, reserves and tracks have been re-opened.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.