Ocean Alliance has some rather sobering news on the subject of whales:
“Tens of thousands of whales are killed or injured every year as a direct or indirect result of human activities. The health of ocean ecosystems is tied directly to the health of whales. If we continue to lose whales, the results will be disastrous not just for the oceans, but for our entire planet.”
In an effort to increase how much we know about whales without interrupting their life or hurting them, they invented Snotbot:
“Snotbots are custom-built drones created in partnership between Ocean Alliance and Olin College of Engineering. They hover in the air above a surfacing whale and collect the blow (or snot) exhaled from its lungs. Snotbot then returns that sample back to researchers a significant distance away.”
A Snotbot expedition was taking place in San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico. Christian Miller was on that expedition when he got up close and personal with a grey whale calf. It was unexpected but, at the same time, marvelous.
The calf came close to Christian’s boat with her mother close beside her. Eventually, she was close enough to the boat that Christian could reach out and pet her. It was almost as if she was asking for that personal contact.
The whale’s mother was never very far away but she didn’t stop her calf from getting close to the boat. Christian was able to pet her chin and belly, eventually with both hands. They also splashed playfully in the water together.
Once they were able to bond, the two whales moved on. The crew was stunned that they were able to have that close interaction with the whales.
Viewers are surprised with how gentle and soft those animals are. It just further shows why we must protect them at all costs.