8 March 2018
Department calls on residents to report sightings

1 May 2018: Listen to an interview on RN Radio with Dr Carol Palmer about her work surrounding Groote Eylandt here.

GROOTE residents are being urged to report sightings of two dolphin breeds – the killer whale and false killer whale.

The archipelago is an important area for these mammals, which are the biggest and second biggest dolphins in the world.

Little is known about killer whales in the tropical waters, and nearly all the sightings from NT water have been recorded around Groote Archipelago. 

Department of Environment senior scientist Dr Carol Palmer told the ALC that false killer whales are generally thought to be deep water ocean going dolphins but in the NT they regularly use coastal waters.

Four false killer whales satellite tagged in 2013 near Cobourg Peninsula travelled 5000-7000 kilometres over 105 days chasing fish in NT and Commonwealth waters.

“They are like the Olympic swimmers of the NT,” Dr Carol said.

She said there was little information on the dolphins in the tropical waters of northern Australia and sightings were rare.

“Sightings of all dolphins, whales, turtles and dugongs (termed marine megafauna) are really important – we call it Citizen Science,” Dr Carol said.

Residents can report sightings (with images) to Marine WildWatch on 1800 453 941 or at wildwatch.nt.gov.au

IMAGE: Killer whales spotted off Groote Eylandt.