When a whale gives birth, nine times out of 10 there isn’t anyone around to witness it. However, that was not the case during a recent whale birth off the Dana Point coast in California. According to The Orange County Register, a group of sightseers were on a whale watch when they witnessed something pretty incredible. A false killer whale actually gave birth right in front of their eyes! Check out the photo of the newborn baby below.
False killer whale gives birth to real-live calf in front of whale watching tour: https://t.co/rbRk3ThtIg pic.twitter.com/fDOyhuXiet
— AP West Region (@APWestRegion) March 22, 2016
“The females came up right next to the boat and all started pushing at the side. Then you see this spurt of blood and you think they got something – but instead you see a baby pop out. He was about 2 1/2 feet-long and his fins were all folded together. He was lying on his side and flopping around like a fish,” said the ship’s captain, Tom Southern, of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari.
The “whale gives birth” story went viral on the internet on Tuesday after a video of the event was posted online. Everyone on the boat watched the miracle of birth happen and kept a close eye on the newborn baby false killer whale, who struggled at first. It took about 10 minutes for the baby to find his way, but he soon started swimming around, poking his head up out of the water.
“I don’t know if anyone has ever seen a false killer whale give birth. At least no other commercial boat has reported this,” Southern said. “This was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” he added.
A false killer whale is not related to a killer whale (orca whale), which is ironic given its name. According to us.whale.org, a false killer whale is actually a large member of the dolphin family. They get their name from having similar characteristics to orcas, but they actually look very different. Orcas are a shiny black with large white spots. These false killer whales are a matte black and do appear more dolphin-like.
“False killer whales are known for their depredation of fishing longlines and this behaviour has resulted in them being hunted and fired upon by fishermen in several parts of their range, including Japan where they are a target of the annual drive-hunt fisheries.”
Although a whale giving birth is an incredible sight in and of itself, this particular event was even more special. Why? Because false killer whales don’t usually swim in these particular waters. According to the report, these whales are rarely seen in the waters off of Southern California. In fact, there have only been two reported sightings over the past 15 years. It is unclear why this pod of dolphins was swimming in this area.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the owner of the whale watching company went out on this tour and talked about his experience watching this whale birth.
“I’m so thankful they chose to do it in front of our boat. It’s got to be one of the biggest things that’s ever happened out here. This birth is one of a kind and I’ve been doing whale watching for 20 years,” said Dave Anderson.
“Newborns are typically less than five feet long and will grow to be 15 to 20 feet long and weigh 1,500 pounds, Anderson said.”
The video of the false killer whale giving birth has been viewed over 250,000 times. People all over the country have been viewing and sharing the video which can be seen above.
[Photo via YouTube]