Humpback whale slaps boat with its tail in close encounter

High five! Humpback whale slaps boat with its tail in close encounter that delights the tourists on board

  • A humpback whale was filmed breaching the water a few feet from a boat 
  • The stunning footage was taken in Dana Point, California, on Thursday June 11
  • It slaps the boat with the top of its tail before diving back into the ocean 

This is the moment a humpback whale high fives a boat by slapping it with its tail in a close encounter.

Stunning footage taken in Dana Point, California, shows the whale breaching the water a few feet away from the boat.

Tourists on the boat were unable to contain their excitement as the whale came up to the surface of the water.

Stunning footage taken in Dana Point, California, shows a humpback whale giving a boat a high five with its tail

The whale touches the side of the boat with its tail before breaching the water a few feet away from it

In the footage, the whale comes up to the surface of the sea for air a few feet from the boat.

It suddenly lifts its tail out of the water and touches the boat as a tourist onboard shouts ‘woah’.

Tourists on the boat continue to exclaim as the whale breaches the water, bringing its head out of the sea and shooting water out of its blowhole.

The whale brings its whole body out of the water as it dives down, bringing its tail out again at the end. 

The whale breaches a few feet away from the boat as tourists on board shout out in enjoyment

The filmer said: ‘The whale came up right along side the boat and then whipped its tail toward me and slapped the hull of the boat! 

‘I literally could have touched the whale! It was so close!’

The rare encounter happened on June 11 in Dana Point, an area in southern California famous for its whale and dolphin watching.

Blue whales, gray whales, fin whales, minke whales, humpback whales, orcas, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and Pacific white-sided dolphins are all known to swim near the along the Dana Point coastline.

HUMPBACK WHALE POPULATIONS AND THEIR THREATS

Humpback whales live in oceans around the world. They travel incredible distances every year and have one of the longest migrations of any mammal on the planet. 

Some populations swim 5,000 miles from tropical breeding grounds to colder, plentiful feeding grounds – this is why it is difficult to estimate population size, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Of the 14 distinct populations, 12 are estimated to number more than 2,000 humpback whales each and two are estimated to number fewer than 2,000. 

Humpback whales live in oceans around the world. They travel incredible distances every year and have one of the longest migrations of any mammal on the planet

Some populations (such as those off eastern and western Australia) are believed to number in excess of 20,000 animals—a remarkable recovery given that the same populations were almost eradicated by whaling almost sixty years ago. 

By contrast, the smallest known population is one which inhabits the Arabian Sea year-round, and may number as few as 80 individuals. 

Threats to humpback whales include decline in food like Krill due to a combination of climate change and industrial-scale fishing.

Humpback whales can become entangled by many different gear types including moorings, traps, pots, or gillnets. 

Once entangled, if they are able to move the gear, the whale may drag and swim with attached gear for long distances, ultimately resulting in fatigue, compromised feeding ability, or severe injury. 

There is evidence to suggest that most humpback whales experience entanglement over the course of their lives, but are often able to shed the gear on their own. 

Inadvertent vessel strikes can injure or kill humpback whales. 

Humpback whales are vulnerable to vessel strikes throughout their range, but the risk is much higher in some coastal areas with heavy ship traffic. 

Underwater noise threatens whale populations, interrupting their normal behaviour and driving them away from areas important to their survival. 

Sound has been shown to increase stress hormones in their system and mask the natural sounds humpback whales require to communicate and locate prey. 

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