Pods of elusive Arnoux’s beaked whales delight Kiwis in Antarctica

Source: 1News

Two pods of incredibly rare whales have visited Antarctica's Scott Base, delighting the Kiwis staying on the icy continent.

Around 12 Arnoux’s beaked whales are estimated to have visited Scott Base, New Zealand's scientific foot-hold on Antarctica.

Very little is known about the rarely seen species, according to an expert.

"We don’t know their population size, or how they spend their lives," says Anton van Helden, Department of Conservation's marine species science adviser.

"We are reliant on these sorts of rarely recorded events, and occasional stranded animals to try and interpret their lives."

Antarctica New Zealand says the Kiwis grabbed their cameras and ran for the shore when they spotted the whales.

"We weren’t sure exactly what type of whale they were, so the base was buzzing with discussion following the sighting," science tech Jamie McGaw says.

Pods of Arnoux’s beaked whales photographed out the front of Scott Base, Antarctica.

"'They were tail slapping and breaching, with the boom of their bodies hitting the water echoing around Pram Point."

As sightings of the Arnoux’s beaked whales are so rare, the new photos will be important to science.

"Beaked whales are known for being incredibly elusive, so it is very exciting for the Scott Base team to be offered the rare chance to see these cryptic animals," Antarctica NZ's science adviser Rebecca Macneil says.

It's been around five years since the elusive whales last visited Scott Base.