A blue whale managed to disrupt a live TV interview this weekend, when it was sighted just a short distance from where a BBC presenter was speaking with a whale expert in Monterey.
The sighting transpired as part of the BBC and PBS’ Big Blue Live event, which was broadcast live from Monterey, California. Host Steve Backshall was interviewing marine biologist Dorris Welch regarding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and as the duo began to speak about whale watching tours, Backshall suddenly interrupted as he was informed via earpiece that the production’s helicopter has sighted a blue whale nearby.
— BBC One (@BBCOne) August 30, 2015
Footage of the whale was broadcast live from the aircraft as an excited Backshall spoke about the rarity of the sighting.
“This is one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen. When I started off filming wildlife just 16 years ago, if someone had said ‘go and film a blue whale,’ I would have said they were crazy… these animals have made such an extraordinary come back.”
The broadcast represents the first time that a blue whale sighting has ever aired on live TV, according to Mashable. The production crew were warned in advance that none of the massive animals had been recorded in the region, and that such a sighting was a highly unlikely prospect. Nonetheless, the animal made its appearance, and viewers were able to watch it for several minutes before the blue whale dove back beneath the waves, descending into the depths in search of krill, its preferred food source.
Oh my. The ocean just delivered her very best. A big blue whale live on air #BigBlueLive – not a dry eye in the OB truck. Sniff.
— BBC Oceans (@OceanHQ) August 30, 2015
I’ve always been teased about my over-enthusiasm,but…It was a blue whale! Live! A special & important moment #bigbluelive @BBCBigBlueLive
— Steve Backshall (@SteveBackshall) August 30, 2015
The largest animal that has ever lived, blue whales are currently an endangered species, though their numbers have rebounded from previously catastrophic population lows. As Popular Mechanics points out, the whales were once subjected to intense pressure from commercial whaling, which brought the species to the brink of extinction in the 20th century. The practice has fallen off in recent decades, however, and now the blue whale is more commonly threatened by the loss of its habitat.
[Image: BBC Big Blue Live via Mashable]