In stunning new footage coming from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP), they have managed to capture footage of a baby humpback whale just minutes after birth.
In a press release from MMRP Director Lars Bender, he explained just how significant this moment was. “This is quite extraordinary — within I would say 20 minutes of the humpback female giving birth to her calf. We arrive up to the animals and there is still blood in the water and the calf very uncoordinated, but pretty much as close as we could get to a live birth.”
“They had just seen all this whitewater and commotion in the water and weren’t quite sure what it was and suddenly there was all this blood in the water, which made us go over there and that’s what we discovered — a newborn calf,” Bejder told University of Hawai’i News.
As you can see in the footage, the humpback whale calf is so new that its dorsal fin and tail flukes appear soft and flimsy, and its mother is still excreting blood. The calf also has to be supported by the mother as she learns to swim in her first few minutes on the planet.
Bjeder will use the footage to help researchers learn more about humpback whales and also help show the public how special these animals are to help protect them.
“I think everybody can appreciate these kinds of footages, and it brings us closer to these animals and gives us a really majestic view of these creatures,” he said. “I think it’s pretty spectacular.”