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WATCH: Extremely Rare White Whale Calf Spotted Playing With Mother

Sep 06, 2016 04:10 AM EDT
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The white whale is an elusive creature, but researchers at Murdoch University managed to film one in western Australia playing with its mother. The extraordinary video is clear, showing the smaller snow white calf swimming alongside the normal colored parent.

According to a report from BBC, this is not an albino calf. The white whale is a rarely seen yet fairly common phenomenon; at least 5 percent of the species are born white and they simply turn black within their first year.

Drones, Tags Allow Close Observation

Murdoch University researchers Dr. Fredrik Christiansen and Professor Lars Bejder took the drone footage, according to a report from Phys Org. The pair of scientists are collaborating with Professor Peter T. Madsen of Denmark's Aarhus University to study whales with a selection of new and innovative technologies such as drones and suction cup tags.

These non-invasive methods allow the team to study the majestic creatures much more closely than ever. Professor Bejder revealed that they are not just hoping to understand the whale's natural behavior but also the effect human activities have on their behavioral patterns.

"Our aim is not only to study the behavioural ecology of these amazing animals, but also to provide information to industry and management towards conservation," he explained. "We need to know more about the ambient ocean noise in these regions and the extent to which southern right whales will be exposed to increased noise from human activity." 

The Plight of Whales

There is certainly an increasing urgency in understanding and perhaps saving the species from possible extinction. According to a recent report in EurekAlert, the right whale population is constantly in danger from fatal entanglements in fishing gear. There has also been an alarming 40 percent decline in birth rates since 2010.

A study published in Frontiers in Marine Science, entanglements in fishing rope and gear are responsible for 85 perceny of right whales fatalities from 2010 to 2015.

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