‘MIRA’ is a 16 year old female southern right whale with a large distinctive white marking on her dorsal.
In addition to keeping sighting logs of each whale & dolphin sighting during our boat tours, Southern Right Charters photographs, record and catalogues any whales seen with distinctive markings, as part of our Whale Sighting Programme in the hopes that we can determine re-sightings of specific whales in the future which could offer immediate knowledge on the whales age, movements and birthing cycle.
On the 31st July 2020, our crew spotted MIRA in Walker Bay, Hermanus. This is our first successful and official re-sighting as she was last spotted from our boat in September 2017. What is amazing is that in 2017 and now in 2020, both encounters have seen MIRA with a new calf. This indicates a healthy birthing/calving period of three years, with MIRA, doing great, having calved in both 2017 & 2020.
On further investigation by the Mammal Research Institute Whale Unit, they confirmed that MIRA is in their database, but not as an adult but as a calf!
MIRA was born in 2004 to female R98/113A, showing that she is turning 16 years old this year. In a social media post on the 4th August 2020, the Whale Unit mentioned that “Considering the average age of first calving is about 8 years old, Southern Right Charters likely captured her 2nd (2017) and 3rd (2020) calf.”
This good news story rippled across the local news in Hermanus, with many locals posting sightings of MIRA and her calf during the 2020 whale season, over a +/- 3 month period ranging from end July well into October MIRA and her calf ‘set up camp’ in Hermanus and was often seen from shore and boat.