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People blown away by 'beautiful' world-first footage of humpback whale giving birth

Poppy Bilderbeck

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| Last updated 

People blown away by 'beautiful' world-first footage of humpback whale giving birth

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/ National Geographic

World-first footage of a humpback whale giving birth has been released by National Geographic.

On 5 March, 2021, a team of scientists and National Geographic filmmakers experienced a breathtaking event - the 'full birth' of a humpback whale.

Not only has such an occurrence never reportedly been seen this close up before, but it's also never been caught on camera until now. And the 'unforgettable' footage has since been released. Prepare to be moved:

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Chief research biologist at the Pacific Whale Foundation in Maui, Stephanie Stack, explains many people have called up claiming to have seen a whale calf being born.

But actually, after investigating the claims, the foundation realised people have often just spotted 'a whale resting or a whale hanging out with its calf'.

Stack was subsequently 'really surprised' when she saw National Geographic's footage and thinks it's 'amazing' a full birth is finally able to be witnessed.

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So, what did the team actually see which led them to make this groundbreaking video?

The team saw a group of male whales surrounding a female. Credit: National Geographic
The team saw a group of male whales surrounding a female. Credit: National Geographic

Well, Keiki Kohola Project whale researcher Rachel Cartwright and the rest of her team were near Lahaina, Hawaii when they spotted a group of male humpback whales near a female whale.

They initially thought the group of male whales were hoping to mate, but after a crew member went into the water, they realised the female whale was actually giving birth.

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The team deployed a research drone which ended up capturing the exact moment the whale gave birth, a 'big burst of blood' coming out and then 'two seconds later' a calf.

Divers on the team also got back into the water with low-light cameras to capture more footage, one 'beautiful sequence' showing 'the little baby's tail sticking out' of the mom and the male whales 'blowing bubbles' underneath.

Field director Paul Satchell said: "We knew this was a rare opportunity to capture a precious moment and then the team worked tirelessly to follow and film the group."

No one's ever captured a full humpback whale birth on camera before. Credit: National Geographic
No one's ever captured a full humpback whale birth on camera before. Credit: National Geographic
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People are flooding to the video in awe of the amazing sight.

One YouTube user said: "What a beautiful world we live in... unforgettable video! Let's clean our world and save these many endangered animals."

"So beautiful & so precious watching this. This is why our oceans need to be kept clean not destroyed & why animals deserve to be respected, admired & protected," another added.

A third commented: "The best video of 2023! For real. Amazing job done by Nat Geo. Loved the narration."

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And a fourth wrote: "This video brought tears to my eyes. Congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to the amazing camera crew for this very special gift."

Cartwright resolves: "We've been waiting for this for 25 years."

The incredible footage will be featured in new series Incredible Animal Journeys, which premieres on National Geographic tomorrow (November 19) and will be available to stream on Disney+ and Hulu on Monday (November 20).

Topics: News, Animals, World News, Social Media, Parenting

Poppy Bilderbeck
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