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Pioneering Christchurch-based expedition cruise company Heritage Expeditions has captured video footage of a large pod of extremely rare Shepherd’s Beaked Whales.
The ground-breaking video of 10 of the world’s most elusive whales was taken off the coast of Gisborne by expedition leader Lisle Gywnn during an “amazing encounter” aboard expedition vessel Spirit of Enderby as the ship was making its way to Tauranga to start its 31-day Western Pacific Odyssey voyage.
The Shepherd’s Beaked Whale, Tasmacetus shepherdii, is one of the least-known whale species on the planet. With only a handful of confirmed sightings recorded, most of what is known about these incredible mammals has been obtained from autopsies on the carcasses of beached/stranded whales, with New Zealand considered the world stranding hot spot for the species.
With little known about the behaviour of the medium to large-sized members of the beaked whale family, there is no global population estimate for the species which is thought to inhabit a circumpolar band of cold temperate waters in the Southern Hemisphere.
Heritage Expeditions’ General Manager David Bowen hoped the video would help change that by providing some insights for those studying the fascinating whales.
“We are proud to be able to share this game-changing footage with the scientific community and marine-minded individuals around the world,” he said.
Watch and share the video HERE.
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