Researcher captures striking Antarctic video of minke whale

Above, a video grab shows a minke whale glide under the ice in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. (Regina Eisert/Anthony Powell /University of Canterbury via AP)
Updated 21 March 2018
0

Researcher captures striking Antarctic video of minke whale

WELLINGTON, New Zealand: Marine mammal expert Dr. Regina Eisert thought minke whales were a little boring until she captured some striking footage of one swimming underwater near Antarctica. Now she thinks they’re beautiful.
Eisert said the whales look similar from the surface but she gained a new appreciation for their individuality after seeing the markings on one up close. She said her team got the underwater video by luck. They’d planned to film underwater for two weeks but managed to get just 90 minutes of footage before running into technical problems.
A researcher at the University of Canterbury, Eisert said they were in Antarctica earlier this year mainly to research orcas in the Ross Sea. But she said their observations of minke whales could shed new light on their feeding patterns.
“Baleen whales are an important part of the ecosystem but they’re grossly understudied,” she said.
The conventional thinking has been that minke whales mainly chase krill, Eisert said. But she couldn’t see any krill where the whales were swimming, and so she thinks they may have been chasing small schools of fish.
She hopes they will be able to find out more about what the whales eat after taking a tiny amount of skin and blubber from the minke whales using a modified tranquilizer gun.
Eisert and her team got their footage after being dropped by helicopter on sea ice not far from two research stations, New Zealand’s Scott Base and the American base McMurdo Station. The US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star had earlier cut a channel through the ice to allow the stations to be resupplied, which Eisert said also provided a kind of highway for the whales.
She said there had been very little study of minke whales in the Ross Sea region, despite there being over 100,000 in the area. The cost and difficulty of studying them in such a remote and inhospitable place had been a deterrent, she said.
Eisert’s research, sponsored by The Pew Charitable Trusts, will examine the effect of a new marine protected area on the Ross Sea ecosystem.


Images of a father carrying his disabled son during graduation in Yemen tugs at the heart strings

Updated 19 April 2018
0

Images of a father carrying his disabled son during graduation in Yemen tugs at the heart strings

  • Yemeni journalist and photographer Farouk Muqbel took footage of an elderly father in Sanaa

In video footage that will pull at the heart strings of even the most hardened, a proud father can be seen giving his disabled son a piggyback during his graduation ceremony in Yemen.  

The inspiring moment of the elderly man and his son was captured by Yemeni photojournalist Farouk Muqbel, who was filming the graduation ceremony of the Al-Noor Center for the Care and Rehabilitation of the Blind in Sanaa on Wednesday.

The father’s pride can be clearly seen as he carried his son who was graduating from secondary school.

The Al-Noor center was founded in 1967 and serves over 200 students, mostly children, who have visual disabilities.

The center’s manager told Human Rights Watch in 2016 that when the conflict started on March 26, 2015, the Houthis militia set up an office on the ground floor of the kindergarten building and placed guards at the compound’s entrance.