The rare video above captures the moments just after a humpback whale gave birth off the coast of Maui.
This is the closest researcher Lars Bejder has been to a live birth of a humpback whale in 25 years. He's the director of the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Marine Mammal Research Program (MMRP).
"This is quite extraordinary — within I would say 20 minutes of the humpback female giving birth to her calf," Bejder said in a press release. "We arrive up to the animals and there is still blood in the water and the calf very uncoordinated, but pretty much as close as we could get to a live birth."
He got a call from a local tour operator of some unusual whale activity, so he took his drone and decided to check it out.
"They had just seen all this whitewater and commotion in the water and weren't quite sure what it was and suddenly there was all this blood in the water, which made us go over there and that's what we discovered — a newborn calf," Bejder told University of Hawai'i News.
You can see in the video that the humpback whale calf is so new that its dorsal fin and tail flukes appear soft and flimsy. In addition, its mother is still excreting blood and supporting the calf on her back.
Bejder and his team at MMRP hope this footage not only helps researchers learn more about humpback whales, but that it shows the public just how majestic these creatures are.
"I think everybody can appreciate these kinds of footages, and it brings us closer to these animals and gives us a really majestic view of these creatures," Bejder said. "I think it's pretty spectacular."