A new, remarkable Hawaiian video shows a humpback whale calf that navigates through the waters of the Pacific just minutes away from birth.
For marine biologist Lars Bejder, it was about to be in the right place at the right time.
Last month, Bejder, director of the Marine Mammals Research Program (MMRP) at the University of Hawaii in Mānoa, rolled humpback whales from the Maui coast when he received an urgent call from a tour operator Local, worried after seeing frenetic splashing and blurring in the water, followed by the appearance of blood. Bejder hurried and soon saw the newly born gibbous calf.
"We have immediately reached the drone," Bejder told Gizmodo. "It was amazing to see this new calf-this very uncoordinated calf-so soon after being born."
In fact, all the signs pointed to a birth in the last 20 minutes or less. His dorsal fin and the flokes in the tail seemed soft and weak, and his mother was still excreting some blood, according to a press release. In addition, the mother occasionally supported the newborn in the back. The sex of the newborn could not be determined, because he never managed to get ahead, Bejder said. According to preliminary observations, the calf was normal and healthy, he added.
"We have seen, without a doubt, humpback calves that have a few days or weeks of antiquity, and this calf looks like a miniature version of these," Bejder said. The marine biologist has studied whales for 25 years, but "this is the closest I've been to a real birth," he said, adding that the scene would not have been possible without the help and the support from the local community.
Working under a permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Bejder and his MMRP colleagues were working in the area to quantify body mass and the body size of humpbacks in this nursery. Teams use drones to measure the length and width of the whales to a millimeter accuracy. Bejder will continue to study the bodily condition of these whales, and expects to have the same mother and calf at some future time.
Three years ago, the region's cobblestones were classified in terms of their status, which were no longer listed in danger of extinction. They are still protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, but for some unknown reason, their numbers have declined over the past three years, Bejder explained.
"Their numbers are a bit low, and we are not sure what is happening," he told Gizmodo. "A group of groups now address this issue, trying to find out if it is a small fault or if there is something more serious." He added: "It's a wait and wait situation-we're trying to see if this is a natural fluctuation or a worse sign".
Hopefully it's nothing. For now, try not to worry about and celebrate this adorable new calf. Welcome to the world![University of Hawaii News]