7 Jun 2016

Rare whale caught on camera by Auckland drone

12:05 pm on 7 June 2016

Footage of a critically threatened whale and its calf feeding off the Auckland coast has been captured on a drone camera by Auckland University of Technology.

There are believed to be less than 200 Brydle's whales in New Zealand waters, and AUT scientists said they were thrilled to see them in the wild.

The footage shows an adult whale feeding, briefly joined by a young calf. The adult whale was estimated to be about 12m long, 12 tonnes in weight and 10 years old.

AUT post-graduate students Ticiana Fetterman and Lorenzo Fiori shot the footage on the drone, which flew at a distance of at least 40 meters from the whales

Research supervisor Dr Barbara Bollard Breen, a senior lecturer in Geospatial Science, said the drone allowed the researchers to film without disturbing the surrounding wildlife, revealing footage that could not seen from a boat.