Incredible Drone Footage Appears to Show a Blue Whale Nursing

By Maddie Stone on at

Once in a while, nature and technology conspire to bring us something rare and incredible. This is one of those times.

The video above, shot by a small drone off the western coast of New Zealand on February 5th, may be the first-ever aerial footage of a blue whale nursing a calf. That, at least, is marine ecologist Leigh Torres’ explanation for why the calf alternates between swimming under its mother and breathing at the surface. Either that, or the baby whale is justifiably terrified of flesh-eating seagulls.

We know very little about blue whale nursing; nature’s fast-track to becoming an ocean heavyweight. We do know that over a period of five to seven months, blue whale calves put on a whopping 19 tonnes drinking their mothers’ milk, which is roughly 40 per cent fat and 13 per cent protein. According to Torres, the whale in the video above is probably four to six months old, meaning he’s got a few more months of doing fifty gallon challenges a day before he’s ready to switch over to krill.

Godspeed, little big guy.

[National Geographic]