Mother and Baby Breach HW22
If there's one thing baby humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) love, it's play time with mommy!
Captured here is a snapshot in time, the moment that an energetic and overjoyed male calf has just convinced his mother to play.
Calves are supposed to have a lot of get-up-and-go. They are, after all, being nursed with calorie-rich milk by their mothers, and active play is an integral part of maturing. Baby whales need to learn important whale skills like swimming, breaching, slapping the water and such.
For their mothers though, conserving energy is important. Females with calves need to ensure that their fat reserves are sufficient to nourish both themselves and their growing babies.
This means that adult females pick and choose their times to play with their calves, and they usually do not play too long, though I've certainly seen exceptions to this rule!
This particular calf had a large wound on his left peduncle area, one that appeared to be the result of a large bite. It was fortunately healing well when we met. The calf had a propensity to stray for substantial distances from his mother, like many hundreds of meters away. This probably explains how he got injured. The calf was also thin for his size, though highly energetic.
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