|Humpback whale in Kimberley, photo by Jenita Enevoldsen, Wilderness Society|
The highest concentration of humpback whales ever recorded along the Kimberley coast of Northwest Australia were spotted by environmentalists near the site of a proposed industrial LNG development being pushed by Big Oil. Flatback sea turtles were seen swimming in the same waters where whales calve and raise their young near James Price Point during the recent survey and cruise organized by whale experts and the Wilderness Society of Western Australia.
The whale survey along with a new report about tourism in the Kimberley adds to the growing evidence that this is the wrong place to allow Chevron, Shell, BP, BHP Billiton and Woodside Pretroleum to construct fossil fuel infrastructure. But this has not stopped the Western Australian Prime Minister Colin Barnett from deciding to end discussions with locals and the Aboriginal community and begin the process of taking native title lands for the project.
Keep Oil and Gas out of the Kimberley by sending a message to Big Oil's CEOs by clicking here. Read more and take more actions below.
After heading out from Broome on board a small charter vessel, Wilderness Society campaigner Jenita Enevoldsen wrote in her daily diary that "We began spotting whales almost immediately and had a few tallied up by the time we reached James Price Point. Unfortunately the scene was dominated by the Woodside drilling rig just south of James Price Point -- taking core samples of the seabed in preparation for the proposed LNG industrial hub. Resting within 1 nautical mile of the drilling rig, we spied a mother and calf humpback logging on the surface near two flatback turtles."
At left: A green sea turtle making her way out with the tide at Montgomery reef along the Kimberley coast. Photo - Jenita Enevoldsen, Wilderness Society
By the end of the first day, they had seen 49 humpbacks, 2 pygmy humpbacks, 12 bottlenose dolphins, 3 turtles and 3 sea snakes. See photos and read more here.
Broome whale expert Richard Costin and the Wilderness Society recorded
198 whales during the survey and cruise. They learned that whale calving grounds off the Kimberley coast stretch much further out to sea than previously thought, say researchers. The find will have implications for the region's burgeoning oil and gas industry. Read the Perth New news coverage of the whale survey and cruise.
The Wilderness Society also reports these Kimberley campaign updates:
• A new study by the Curtin University Sustainable Tourism Centre identifies plans for a massive polluting LNG industrial site near Broome as a serious threat to the Kimberley’s unique and globally-recognised tourism ‘brand’. View video clip.
Download a copy of the report.
• Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has moved to acquire land for Kimberley gas project in a process of compulsory acquisition for the site of James Price point. Apparently he didn't do his home work and has subsequently broken a commonwealth aggreement. Colinisation of the Kimberley has begun! See the news story.
Oppose this action and make you voice heard: Send an email to the Premier here.
• New Video ads launch Kimberley whale war
Environs Kimberley has launched a new ad campaign to protect the Kimberley. View it here.
Support Sea Turtle Restoration Project in helping to spread the word across the U.S. and the world that the Kimberley needs our support. Post this article to Facebook and Tell Your Friends.
Donate to the Australian flatback campaign. STRP plans to return to the Kimberley in December and needs funding to keep this work going. Each trip costs about $5,000.