Film coup as whale takes first breath

Bridie Smith; 24/7/09

The birth of a humpback whale has been filmed for the first time, according to seasoned whale researchers who photographed the young whale calf, barely minutes old, taking its first breath. “It’s like the Holy Grail,” said Curt Jenner, of WA’s Centre for Whale Research. “People have been chasing it for a long, long time.” Photographs of the humpback calf, born in the cooler waters near Western Australia’s Ningaloo Reef last Sunday, were released yesterday. The calf was lifted up to take its first breath by its mother, who used her nose to raise the calf out of the water for a good 10 seconds. “That first breath was amazing,” Mr Jenner said. “It was like dropping batteries into it, all of a sudden it was all go. The tail was going and it covered the distance of 100 metres in no time flat.”