Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, in Massachusetts, recently captured the moment when two right whales ‘hug’ swimming in Cape Cod Bay, on the Atlantic coast of the United States.
In a video, recorded last February with drones and published This Saturday on the institute’s Instagram account, you can see how two male glacial right whales – an endangered species – swim belly to belly on the surface of the water, supposedly “showing affection and mating attempts.”
In spring, the whales migrate north from the warm waters of the Caribbean, where they calve, to the cold waters of the northeastern United States and Canada, where the zooplankton they eat is most abundant.
Experts Michael Moore and Amy Knowlton, photographer Brian Skerry and his assistant say it was the first time he had seen right whales swimming like this, adding that what looked like a whale hug was more than just curious animal behavior. “One of the reasons it was so overwhelming for me was that there has been a lot of bad news for right whales in the last 20 years,” he said. “I have done many necropsies, dissecting them on the beach,” he added.
Currently, there are fewer than 400 glacial right whales left in the ocean, making them one of the most threatened species on the planet. A century of commercial hunting saw them decline sharply in the 20th century, and their numbers continue to decline. In the last four years alone, 34 dead North Atlantic right whales have been found.
Source: Diario Ecologia by diarioecologia.com.
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