Corsica: the extremely rare images of the birth of sperm whales, filmed by drone
Author: Clark Tos
A birth of a sperm whale was captured by a drone about fifty kilometers off Calvi, in Corsica. This is an extremely rare video.
Credit: Patrice Cullieret
The ballet of cetaceans was filmed in the Pelagos Sanctuary, an 87,500 km2 maritime area covered by an agreement between Italy, Monaco and France for the protection of the marine mammals that frequent it. The images show the grouping of about twenty sperm whales which accompany the birth of the female. The latter have a habit of making waves to protect newborns, who generally measure 3 meters when they arrive in the world, and can reach more than 15 meters in adulthood.
“In thirty years of observation, I have never had the chance to attend a gathering like this. This is an extremely rare moment.' says cetologist Cathy Cesarini, president of the CARI association (Cétacés Association Recherche Insulaire). She adds : “This is a behavior found in most cetaceans. There are godmothers who come together and come to help during the birth little ones. There is always a godmother who pushes the little one to the surface so that he can take his first breath. Cetaceans have lungs and need to come to the surface to breathe. When the baby is born, it is always by the tail. If he was born through his head, by the time he came out completely, he would have drowned. »
This birth was observed thanks to an incredible combination of circumstances. Indeed, the crew had set sail for Cannes to participate in the Cannes Yachting Festival with the aim of exhibiting the Eden boat at the shipyard, but three hours of navigation later, about thirty nautical miles from the island coasts, the sailors spotted two whales in the heart of the Pelagos Sanctuary.
Credit: Corse Matin Credit: Patrice Cullieret
A birth observed by chance
« We then saw a lot of eddy and I thought it was pilot whales because we see them regularly. Mika, a member of the crew, approached the regrouping boat, turned off the engines so as not to disturb the cetaceans and on my side, I took off my drone to capture the images. At first, I didn't know what I was filming, but I was sure it wasn't common. By analyzing the images in detail on the big screen, we were pleased to discover that it was a birth of sperm whales » confides with great emotion Patrice Cullieret, captain of the ship.
This timeless episode makes us forget the ravages of pollution in the Mediterranean and above all allows us to keep some hope for the preservation of wild species, for which many scientists regularly sound the alarm.
Credit: Patrice Cullieret