A Drone Captured This Adorable Orca Family Photo

By Jamie Condliffe on at

This isn’t the kind of family snap we’re used to seeing — but it is still insanely cute. A drone piloted by conservationists close to Vancouver Island captured this image of a family of orcas as they swam through the sea together.

The drone was set into the air by John Durban from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to find and identify families or orcas. But the drone’s on-board cameras aren’t just used to capture images for sentimentality: the pictures will actually be used to monitor the health of orcas, determining how their body mass changes over time. The results could also help conservationists work out how big an effect the orcas’ diet, which is based largely on Chinook salmon, is having on local fish populations.

Fortunately, it’s a rather more pleasant drone’s-eye-view of orcas than footage captured above SeaWorld earlier this year.

[Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems via New Scientist]