Rare footage: North Atlantic right whale bonding with her calf off Cape Cod Bay

It's not every day you get to see something like this: Spindle, a 41-year-old North Atlantic right whale, and her calf, were filmed swimming together in Cape Cod Bay. The footage, captured by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), New England Aquarium, and Whale & Dolphin Conservation, gives us an up-close look at these magnificent creatures as the baby whale suckles, or feeds, by swimming under its mom. (WCBV-TV)

WHOI shared:

This is Spindle's 10th documented calf. Unfortunately, only two of her known calves are female, and researchers recently sighted one of the juvenile females with severe entanglement and in poor body condition off the coast of North Carolina. It has not been seen since January.

Every single female North Atlantic right whale and calf is vital to the species' recovery. So far, researchers have identified 12 live calves this calving season.

North Atlantic right whales are dying faster than they can reproduce, largely due to human causes including entanglements in gear and collisions with boats and ships. There are approximately 340 North Atlantic right whales left on the planet, and fewer than 70 reproductively active females.