As if we needed more proof that marine mammals don’t belong in tanks, here’s an amazing five-minute video of a “mega-pod” of dolphins, along with a few whales, thriving in their natural habitat.
Dave Anderson, owner of a California whale-watching company, launched a camera-equipped quadrocopter drone from a small boat to record ocean dwellers in action. The three-segment video he pieced together shows a mega-pod of common dolphins parading off Dana Point, Calif., and three gray whales migrating down the coast off San Clemente. The captain’s last foray, in Maui, produced dramatic moments of a newborn humpback whale calf huddling up to its mom as an escort whale stands guard.
Though one drone was sunk during his mission, Anderson said that it was well worth the loss. “My wife says no more drones if I lose this one,” he says on his website. “I learned so much about these whales and dolphins from this drone footage that it feels like I have entered a new dimension! Drones are going to change how we view the animal world.”
Though the technology has been controversial, conservationists are looking to unmanned aerial vehicles to keep tabs on wildlife in ever-widening contests. Nepal, to cite one example, recently celebrated 365 poaching-free days since it deployed its first drone to monitor the vast Himalayan foothills.