THE greatest animal love battle on the planet has been photographed in waters near Lady Elliot Island.
Up to 11 male humpback whales were seen duking it out in an epic fight known as a "heat run” to win the heart of a whale mother-of-one near the island.
Peter Gash, who manages Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort and whose wife Julie snapped the picture, said it was the largest heat run he had ever seen.
"It's just insane in the water,” he said.
"They make all this noise, going really fast bumping and pushing into each other to be the dominant male.”
Mr Gash said the winning male would then escort the female and her calf away from the pack, before cutting the calf off from its mother so mating could begin.
Researchers believe the humpback whale numbers are increasing at a rate of 10% to 11% a year.