Amazing pilot whale footage by Rafa Herrero
Rafa Herrero of Aquawork has shot some amazing footage of a male pilot whale carrying a dead new-born calf. This behaviour has until now only been observed in females. The male carried the calf for several days. The footage was shot around Tenerife in the Canary Islands.
Vidal Martin, a scientist who has been working with the whales in the area for 25 years explains:
“Although infrequent, it is sometimes possible to observe mothers carrying their dead calves in their mouths for days or even weeks. The interesting thing in this case is that it is a mature male who transports the body of the calf and to date this behavior had not been documented. Pilot whales live in family groups and the majority of the groups’ members remain together for life. These groups, of sometimes up to 14 animal, have a matrilineal structure, with several females and their lineage making the social nucleus. In these groups, there often are one or two adult non-breeding males whose function is not clear, but due to their bigger size may be for defence.” (Translated from the original Spanish.)