Gay whales spotted by experts having sex in the Pacific Ocean

Two male humpback whales have been spotted having sexual intercourse marking the first time such behaviour has been observed. Despite being studied for many years, the love lives of these giant creatures has remained largely unknown.

But now, a researcher from the Pacific Whale Foundation (PWF) has made a historic discovery. The findings were published on February 27 and represent a big step forward in our understanding of humpback whale behaviour.

The special moment was captured on January 19, 2022, off the coast of Maui, Hawaii, by photographers Lyle Krannichfeld and Brandi Romano. Stephanie Stack, the lead author of the study and a whale researcher with PWF, was contacted by the two photographers about the unique encounter they had documented.

According to PWF: “What they stumbled upon was an unprecedented observation. The groundbreaking photographs captured by Krannichfeld and Romano provide an unparalleled glimpse into the private lives of these majestic marine mammals.”

The sighting happened when people on a stationary boat, located about 2km west of the Molokini crater, saw two humpback whales approaching their vessel. One of the whales was noticeably thin and covered in whale lice, showing signs of poor health, which caught the attention of the photographers.

During their meeting, the second whale showed unusual behaviour. It kept coming close to the first whale, using its fins to keep the injured whale still and started shallow, brief penetrations.

The two whales swam around the boat many times. This gave Krannichfeld and Romano a chance to take pictures of what was happening by holding their cameras over the side of the boat.

In Hawaii, it’s against the law to swim with or come within 100 yards of humpback whales, so the boat stayed still while the whales came close.

PWF said: “The health difference between the two whales makes this observation even more special. The bad condition of one whale, maybe because it was hit by a ship, might have caused the behaviour we saw.”

“Even though this is the first time we’ve seen this in humpback whales, same-sex behaviour is normal in the animal world and we know it happens a lot in many species of cetaceans.

“The first time we’ve seen mating between humpback whales gives us important information and helps us understand these amazing creatures better. It gives us new ideas about how this species behaves when it comes to reproduction.”

The article called “An observation of sexual behavior between two male humpback whales” has now been published in the Marine Mammal Science journal.


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