Drone Spies Majestic Blue Whales in Antarctica

posted: 02/04/16
by: Danny Clemens

While patrolling the high seas for poachers, conservationists came across an unexpected treasure: two blue whales frolicking in the Southern Ocean.

As soon as crew members aboard Sea Shepherd Australia's M/Y Steve Irwin realized what they had stumbled upon, they dispatched a drone-mounted camera to the get a bird's eye view of the gentle giants -- and the footage that it returned is absolutely stunning:

"Filming this endangered blue whale and her calf with a drone was unbelievable. Spotting a blue whale from the deck of the Steve Irwin is a thrill, but being able to film the biggest animals on the planet from the air is truly awe-inspiring," Gavin Garrison, the drone's pilot, said in a statement.

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The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is the largest living animal. Found throughout the world's oceans, the creatures can grow to be nearly 100 feet long and weigh approximately 420,000 pounds.

During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, blue whales were hunted nearly to extinction. Thanks to an international ban on blue whale hunting, however, populations have stabilized and are slowly beginning to recover.


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