By ANN-MARIE BEATTIE
THE humpback whale adopted by the council on behalf of the Coffs Harbour community has been named Janggalay which means 'free spirit and happy go lucky' in the Gumbaynggirr language.
"Adopting this whale Janggalay is a great way of highlighting the community's opposition to the practice of whale-hunting," mayor of Coffs Harbour, Cr Keith Rhoades said.
"We are privileged in our area to be able to see the annual migrations of humpback whales along our coastline.
"As more information is acquired on Janggalay by the scientists who study these majestic animals, the whole community can follow its progress."
The name was revealed by students from Kororo Public School, who unfurled a banner bearing the name at a special ceremony at Park Beach on Saturday.
The students were part of a panel established to choose a name from the 42 submissions received by Council after it adopted an unnamed whale in June this year.
The panel also included representatives from Council and the regional Youth Environment Council, with advice from the Coffs Harbour Aboriginal Land Council and an Indigenous representative of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The name that was chosen was put forward by local resident Gail Hughes. She suggested 'Alkira', an Aboriginal word meaning 'free spirit'.
In the local Gumbaynggirr language, this translates as 'Janggalay'.
The whale was adopted through the Humpback Whale Migration Icon Project.
This is a joint initiative of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Surfers for Cetaceans and The Oceania Project.
The Project has access to a database of nearly 3000 individual animals that have been studied and photographed since 1989.
Distinctive markings on the underside of the Humpback whale fluke - or tail - allow each one to be identified easily and, over time, life histories are built up.
Information on Janggalay will be passed on to the community with each new sighting.