Rare Omura's Whale Filmed for the First Time (Video)
Rare Omura's Whale Filmed for the First Time (Video)

Rare Omura’s Whale Filmed for the First Time (Video)

One of the world’s most mysterious whales has been filmed for the first time in its natural habitat off the coast of Madagascar.

The Omura’s whale, which has a body almost as long as a school bus, had only been given its name based on dead specimens in 2003.

The mammal’s size was approximately 33 to 38 feet, making it larger than the killer whale.

The video is the first confirmed sighting of the Omura’s whale after the marine community feared it was extinct.

Biologist Salvatore Cerchio, who led the study, wrote in the Royal Society Open Science that “Omura’s whales are built for speed” and are “spectacular animals with long, narrow bodies”.

He added that the elusive animals swim between the eastern Indian Ocean, Japan and Australia.

In a news release, Cerchio said: “Over the years, there have been a small handful of possible sightings of Omura’s whales, but nothing that was confirmed.

“They appear to occur in remote regions and are difficult to find at sea because they are small—they range in length from approximately 33 to 38 feet—and do not put up a prominent blow.”

There is so little known about the species that scientists do not know how many exist.

When his team first spotted the whale in the Indian Ocean, they believed it was a Bryde’s whale.

“From the little information on their habitat and range, Omura’s whales were not supposed to be in that part of the Indian Ocean,” he said in a news release.

The sightings became more regular for the team in 2013 and four mothers with young calves were also observed. Using hydrophones, they recorded song-like vocalisations that may indicate reproductive behaviour.

Cerchio will return to the field in November for further study on the whales’ vocalisations, behaviour and population characteristics.


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