Three humpback whales have been spotted in a crocodile-infested river in the Northern Territory for the first time.
The pod of whales entered the East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park earlier this week and while the others have now left, one has remained in the river.
Park staff and scientists have blocked off the area to boats and are hoping the whale will swim back out to sea but may have to intervene if required.
Three humpback whales entered the East Alligator River in Kakadu National Park earlier this week
An exclusion zone (pictured) to stop boats entering has now been put in place from the mouth of the East Alligator River to a point approximately 30km upstream
In a statement, Parks Australia said the sighting of whales in the river is ‘a very unusual event’.
‘As far as we’re aware, this is the first time this has happened,’ the statement read.
‘The (remaining) whale is not in distress at the moment and it is not an emergency situation. The best case scenario is for the whale to make its way back out to sea.’
An exclusion zone to stop boats entering has now been put in place from the mouth of the East Alligator River to a point approximately 30km upstream.
‘The last thing we want is a collision between a boat and whale in waters where crocodiles are prevalent and visibility underwater is zero,’ the statement read.
‘We also don’t want boats to inadvertently force the whale further up the river.’
The whale is pictured swimming in the river, which Parks Australia said is ‘a very unusual event’ and the ‘first time this has happened’
Kakadu National Park staff are monitoring the remaining whale and gathering data.
An expert working group of scientists has also been set up to monitor the whale and prepare plans for intervention if required.
‘Kakadu National Park and NT Government scientists will continue to monitor the whale in the coming days,’ the statement read.
‘We appreciate that this is a very unusual and exciting event, however, our priority at present is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of visitors and the whale.’
An aerial view of the of the East Alligator River. Parks staff and a crack team of scientists are currently monitoring the whale