Baby Blue Whale Nursing (Exclusive Drone Footage)

March 2, 2016 - While researching pygmy blue whales in the South Taranaki Bight region of New Zealand, Leigh Torres used a drone to capture footage of a baby blue whale nursing. This is believed to be the first time that aerial footage has documented the nursing behavior of this endangered marine species.

Note: After we published this story a reader alerted us to this older video on YouTube, which also purports to show a blue whale calf nursing. After watching the video, Torres says it's possible that's what is going on but says the calf isn't visible enough to tell. "Our video is much more convincing that they are nursing because the calf is repeatedly ‘stationed’ below the mother for an extended period," she says. Updated on March 4 at 7 pm ET.

Torres, a National Geographic Society/Waitt grantee, hopes her research will lead to strategies that will help protect the blue whale population in the bight, which is open to oil and gas development. Read Torres's blog to learn more about her research.

Read the NG News article "Exclusive Video May Be First to Show Blue Whale Calf Nursing."

Learn more about blue whales on this interactive site.