An endangered southern right whale remains in Wallis Lake on NSW's Mid North Coast, despite reports it has returned to open water.
The whale was first spotted yesterday, and ORRCA vice-president, Jools Farrell speculated the whale could have swum up the Wallamba River, in NSW's Great Lakes region, during the night and had returned to the western side of the Forster Tuncurry bridge earlier this morning.
"It is definitely still there in virtually the same place as yesterday," Ms Farrell said.
She said the whale was first spotted at approximately 7.30am.
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Maritime Services, NSW Fisheries and MidCoast Council are back on the water advising boaties, SUPs and kayaks to keep their distance.
Earlier today NPWS issued a special 500 metre protection order preventing boats, aircraft and drones as well as swimmers from approaching the whale.
The order extends to people congregating on the Forster Tuncurry bridge - which the whale must pass under to return to the ocean.
This is the first time an order of this kind has been made and fines apply.
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The south eastern Australia population of the southern right whale is highly endangered, with around 270 individuals left including only 68 breeding females.
As few as 30 southern right whales enter NSW waters every year.
Yesterday, Adam Fitzroy from MidCoast Aerial Photography sent his drone up to identify the mammal on behalf of the National Parks and Wildlife (NPWS).
Renowned for his marine photographs, Adam was tasked with getting an ID on the rough patches of white skin on the animal's head.
Adam explained this could be used by scientists and marine biologists to identify whether or not they have come across this particular whale on previous travels.
"Southern right whales are expert navigators and there is certain speculation that the whale is here seeking a safe haven in order to give birth," he said.
"Please give it space."
Adam has been invited by both NPWS and ORRCA to assist with potential rescue operations and monitoring the wellbeing of wildlife through aerial imagery on several occasions.
He emphasised this had always been done from a safe distance.
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