Rare, elusive whales captured in ‘never seen before’ aerial video

Cuvier's beaked whales can dive down nearly 10,000 feet and stay underwater for up to two hours, making them difficult for scientists to study.

So researchers aboard Sea Shepherd's R/V Martin Sheen were thrilled when they were able to capture aerial footage of a mother and calf, and other adult Cuvier's beaked whales off Guadalupe Island in Mexico nearly two weeks ago.

Drone pilot Fanch Martin captured what Sea Shepherd claims to be "never before seen drone footage of these rare and elusive cetaceans."

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“I have been recording many cetaceans for our 2017 research projects in Mexico," Martin said in the news release from Sea Shepherd. "We recorded migrating blue whales and many fin whales in the Gulf of California, but these beaked whales were a lot more difficult to capture. Because they take a very long time after each dive to surface, and only stay up for a few minutes, I had the drone ready at all times. It was launched as soon as a whale was sighted."

Rare footage of Cuvier’s beaked whales; a mother and its calf.

The video was taken during a two-week expedition led by Gustavo Cardenas of Mexico and Jenny Trickey of the U.S.

From Sea Shepherd:

Guadalupe Island is a Mexican reserve famous for its large congregations of great white sharks between the months of August and December.  However, according to Cardenas, "what most people don’t know is that in addition to large numbers of sharks we can also find the rarely seen Cuvier’s beaked whales here.”…

“The drone footage gives you a new view into these animals’ lives so we can see things we didn’t know before, like how they are turning their heads a lot and looking at each other,” said marine conservation scientist Dr. Barbara Taylor.