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Pet me! Baby whale gives California family a lovely surprise

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 21st, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A California family received a most lovely surprise when a baby gray whale swam right up to their boat and wanted them to pet it for nearly an hour's time. A remarkable video capturing the event shows the bubbly calf poking its face up to the boat's side in Baja, California. The cutie gets a good rub down from nearly everyone on board.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Baby gray whale calves are reputed to enjoy people petting them, especially in their mouth and baleen which serves as a filter for catching small food. Dave Anderson of Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari filmed the amazing event.

Anderson compares it to a teething child looking for something to rub on.

In the video, the passengers can be heard gleefully enjoying the surprise visit as they dip their hands into the water, some their entire arms in, to touch the fascinating creature.

"You are the best baby whale!" they scream, with one girl successfully accomplishing a giggly dare to kiss the whale on its head.

The trip in question was made by Captain Dave and his family, but didn't give a specific date.

"This grey whale calf in Magdalena Bay spent nearly an hour with us in one of the best encounters I have ever had with a whale in my life. And I have had many," Captain Dave said with the video uploaded this week.

Captain Dave told local station ABC 7 that it is not unusual for the animals to get surprisingly close to the boats because they love the attention of humans.

However this interaction sometimes turn deadly with aboriginal hunters in Russia permitted to kill up to 140 of the whales annually, subtracting from an already weak population, Anderson says.

He adds that 35 percent of gray whales' calves are also killed by killer whales and that fishing gear takes the lives of nearly 1,000 dolphins and whales a day.

By the early 20th century the whales' numbers were so dismal that they were in danger of extinction - but thanks to a major comeback with protection by international law, in 1994 the gray whale has since been removed from the U.S. endangered species list.

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