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Sea World Manager features in whale documentary

Sea World Manager features in whale documentary
June 6, 2011

Sea World Marine Sciences Director Trevor Long was one of the stars of a Channel 10 documentary 'Call of the Whales' screened yesterday.

Marking World Environment Day, the documentary examined the many and varied roles played by those who save the whales while considering wny the mammals engender such community support.

Long, 60, has devoted 38 years of his life to work with marine animals, and took part in his first whale rescue off Main Beach in 1974.

He explains "things were very different then. It pains me to say it, but in those days we'd board the animals, climb on their backs, to get the nets off them they could have killed us, yet even then they seemed to know we were there to help them not to hurt them.

"I've dived to cut nets off whales and I think they know we want to help. I've seen whales lift pectoral finds over their heads to make our job a little easier.

"And the bond between mothers and calves is enormous. We worked with a calf caught in a net a few years ago. That mother stretched 50 feet, weighed probably 50 tonnes in the water and while I was with the calf in the water, she stayed there right beside, communicating all the while with the calf.

"It was amazing to watch. Passionate is the only way I can describe it."

Long has no doubt humans see a little of themselves in whales, their ability to plan, their culture and social groupings, stating "you only have to be on a whale watching boat to see how the people react when see a whale.

Some yell and throw their hands in the air, some jump on the spot, others are mesmerised, they take slow deep breaths."

Currently aboard the Seaworld 1 research boat on a survey of dugong populations in Morton and Harvey bays, Long says there's nothing like the thrill he experiences when he sees his first whale or dolphin appear at the boat's prow, adding "it's as exciting now as it ever was. I never tire of it."

Sea World is launching its 2011 Whale Watching tours today.


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