It what may be a first, a drone has captured a rare recording of an adult Bryde's whale and her calf feeding in the waters off New Zealand. It's part of a research project by Auckland University of Technology to use Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs to capture footage of animals without disturbing them or making them aware of a human presence.
Dr. Barbara Bollard-Breen, a senior lecturer in geospatial science at the university explained to the New Zealand Herald why the footage was so important:
"Bryde's whales are critically threatened in New Zealand, so it's thrilling to see them in the wild, and to be able to record them feeding from above is very special.
"Using a UAV allowed Ticiana and Lorenzo to film without disturbing the surrounding wildlife — revealing footage of the whales feeding that we wouldn't have been able to see from a boat-based survey." Ticiana Fetterman and Lorenzo Fiori are post-graduate students who were out on the water at the time.
And for those reading and not hearing this news, Bryde's whale isn't pronounced the way you might think: It's "broo-dess" after Johan Bryde, who helped build the first whaling factory in Durban, South Africa in 1909, according to WDC, a nonprofit that focuses on the conservation of whales and dolphins.