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Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) mother and calf in shallow protected waters © Peter Chadwick / WWF

Southern Right Whale (Eubalaena australis) mother and calf in shallow protected waters © Peter Chadwick / WWF

New research shows BP withdrawal in Great Australian Bight a win for whales

12 Oct 2016

Keywords
  • south australia
  • whales

WWF-Australia said new research released today re-enforces that BP made the right decision in withdrawing from oil exploration in the Great Australian Bight.

Murdoch University researchers, sponsored by WWF, are using drones to do an urgent health check on southern right whales which travel to Head of Bight each year to give birth.

The drones are giving new insights into the dramatic weight loss whale mothers undergo as they fatten their calves, which makes them vulnerable to impacts from human activity.

“We’re very pleased BP has ditched its plan to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight,” said WWF-Australia conservation director Dr Gilly Llewellyn.

“The Great Australian Bight, with its crucial whale nursery, is no place for oil and gas activity.

“We call on all other proponents of drilling in the Bight and its offshore canyons, to also withdraw.

“The Great Australian Bight has some of the roughest, most remote and most treacherous stretches of water on the planet - difficult to access and operate in.

“It is a place for whales and wild nature – not oil and gas development.

“Operating in a deep, remote location - known for severe ocean conditions – significantly ramps up the chances something could go wrong.

“An oil spill or catastrophic blow-out could severely impact marine life and fisheries.

“We can’t afford a repeat of the 2009 Montara oil spill in the Timor Sea – one of Australia’s worst oil disasters”

“Australia must invest in clean energy development like wind, wave and solar.

“WWF-Australia congratulates the Great Australian Bight Alliance and all the conservation groups who led the campaign to stop oil and gas activity in this beautiful part of the world,” Ms Llewellyn said.

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