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The crew of the Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, has filmed a rare encounter with a Blue whale mother and her calf.

The ship, which is currently engaged in Operation Icefish 2015-16 – Sea Shepherd’s 12th Southern Ocean Defense Campaign – encountered the pair while on the search for illegal activity on the high seas.

Blue whales are the largest animals that have ever lived on this planet, growing up to 30 meters in length.

The global Blue whale population has suffered greatly as a result of commercial whaling. Although there are uncertainties over present abundance, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states that total population has been depleted by at least 70%, and possibly as much as 90%, over the last three generations.

While commercial whaling of this species is no longer practiced, this decline has led to the IUCN declaring the Blue whale to be endangered and possibly critically endangered, and the Antarctic Blue whale subspecies as critically endangered.

“Filming this endangered blue whale and her calf with a drone was unbelievable. Spotting a blue whale from the deck of the Steve Irwin is a thrill, but being able to film the biggest animals on the planet from the air is truly awe-inspiring.” – Gavin Garrison, drone pilot and Steve Irwin crewmember.

Operation Icefish 2015-16
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Operation Icefish 2015-16
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