Drone Captures Rare Footage of White Right Whale Calf0
Drones aren’t just for the military, Amazon and your dorky photographer friend. They’ve also become valuable tools for marine biologists, like the ones who captured this footage of endangered southern right whales off the coast of Australia.
The researchers at Murdoch University who took this video have been studying right whales for more than two decades in an effort to better understand their behavior and eventually bring their population numbers back up.
Commercial whaling in the 19th century killed off about 75 percent of the right whale population. Even now, after decades of recovery, only 12,000 of these whales live in the southern hemisphere, compared to the 100,000 who lived there before whaling began. They’re also recovering at a slower pace than humpback whales (at a rate of about 7 percentper year, versus the humpbacks’ 10 percent), and researchers want to know why.
Drones are particularly useful for this research because right whales breed in the Great Australian Bight, the wide open bay at the southern end of the continent. This coastline is marked by steep cliffs, which makes the waters difficult for boats to access.