Team shortlist22 Oct 2017 AT 10:18 AM

Endangered Arabian humpback whale spotted off coast of Dubai

This is the first sighting in UAE waters
Team shortlist22 Oct 2017 AT 10:18 AM
Endangered Arabian humpback whale spotted off coast of Dubai
Photo for illustration only

An Arabian humpback whale and her calf were spotted 1km off the coast of Dubai on Thursday. The endangered species has never been seen in UAE waters before now, and it’s rare to see them so close to land.

A local resident posted a video on Instagram, and marine biologist Robert Baldwin has since confirmed that it is the first live record in the UAE.

Baldwin told news agency WAM: “Information we are gathering from these whales is providing us with invaluable knowledge about the isolation of the species in a remote corner of our oceans and giving us scientific signposts towards their future survival in a rapidly developing region.”

Whales aren’t spotted very often in the Arabian Gulf, and most sightings are Bryde’s whales, which has occasionally been seen washed up dead on the shore.

According to Baldwin, research shows that less than 100 humpbacks survive.

The Arabian Sea humpback whale is one of only four populations that is listed as endangered in the US. It is considered at high-risk of being extinct. It is a non-migatory population of humpbacks, most commonly spotted around the Gulf of Masirah, Hallaniyat Islands and Kuria Muria Bay.

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