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.

Sarah Hicks Sarah Hicks is a journalist who has been with Mother Nature Network since 2008. As managing editor, she guides the editorial team’s coverage of a wide range of environmental topics, from pets to science to endangered species.

Watch Bryde's whales feed off New Zealand
Drone footage captures rare Bryde’s whale mother and baby feeding. There are only about 200 of the creatures known to swim in those waters.