A park ranger in Australia recently snapped a photo of a rarely seen species of dolphin known as the snubfin.
“Don’t blink,” the Queensland National Parks Facebook post reads. “It’s a rare Australian snubfin dolphin … taking a leisurely backstroke.”
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Ranger Emma Schmidt took the picture when she noticed the marine mammal in the waters off Hinchinbrook Island National Park.
"I noticed a pod of about 10 Indo-Pacific humpback dolphins and among them was this cute little snubby," she told Townsville Bulletin, noting that she’s only seen the species twice in her 12 years of working in the area. "It was playing and mucking around jumping out of the water and in the photo it looks like it's smiling."
Snubfins resemble Irrawaddy dolphins and weren’t actually described as a distinct species until 2005. In addition to the small dorsal fins that earned them their name, they also have round heads and smiley faces, giving them a cartoonish appearance.
While other dolphin species are known for being sociable, the snubfin dolphin is quite shy and rarely photographed.
The animals live in small pods around the waters of Australia and have relatively small ranges and low levels of gene flow between populations, which makes them vulnerable to threats like habitat loss, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
"We don't exactly know how many of them there are, so we don't really know if they are in reasonable numbers and doing okay or if they are in low numbers and under pressure," WWF Australia's species national manager, Darren Grover, told Mashable. “Different populations don't interact, so if anything was to happen to a population of snubfin dolphins in a particular bay and they were wiped out, there wouldn't be new dolphins that would come back into that area. They would be gone forever."