A new video released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) shows a rather strange behavior among humpback whales. The video released by NOAA’s Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary shows a female humpback standing in what appears to be a headstand with her tail sticking out of the water.
The footage took place in the sanctuary off Maui’s leeward coast last month, according to NOAA. Ed Lyman, the sanctuary’s response coordinator named the event as tail sailing.
Although the humpback whale’s behavior appears odd at plain sight, tail sailing is fairly common among southern right whales but has rarely been observed or documented among humpbacks.
Researchers from NOAA’s Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary were testing if small-unmanned aircrafts were useful for whale research. Apparently they can, given the amazing footage of unusual humpback behavior recorded during camera testing.
Nevertheless, the regulations for approaching whales with unmanned aircrafts are seriously strict, as many events can occur that can hurt the mammals. Also, there are strict regulations for untrained use of such equipment near wildlife, considering the threat an aircraft can pose to marine life if a bad situation is presented.
The use of aircrafts to study the whales
Before the team of researchers started testing the cameras on drones, the use of aircrafts in order to study the whales was under approved NOAA and FAA permits. Some restrictions made the location of the staging vessel keep 100 yards distance from the whales at all times during the camera testing.
It’s wise from the research team from NOAA to used trained professionals in order to handle the aircrafts responsible for the footage.
Even after seeing the video of the humpback whale doing a headstand as her calf was swimming around her, Ed Lyman and his team are not sure why the whales do this.
“We think this could be another way for them to rest, nurse, or just try to stay cool,” said resource protection specialist Ed Lyman from the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “More observations will be needed to confirm this theory.”
Source: Mother Nature Network