The incredibly rare sight was caught on camera by a group of tourists who couldn’t believe they witnessed a whale being born next to their boat.
In the footage – shot off the coast of Dana Point, California, in the U.S – blood can be seen seeping into the water as the footage begins, but seconds later a tiny calf appears on the surface swimming next to its mother, reports The Mirror.
The commentator on the boat informs the mesmerised crowd that the mother is helping her newborn by pushing her up to the surface to encourage her to breathe.
He also points out the baby whale’s dorsal fin is lying to one side, which he says is a way to make the birth easier.
It turns out that the animal was actually a ‘false killer whale’ which is a species of dolphin often mistaken for whales.
According to a statement from Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari – the guys who released the remarkable footage – false killer whales are very rarely seen off the coast of southern California and are normally found in warmer waters.
The commentator said:
What a once in a lifetime thing to see. In over 20 years on the water I have never seen anything like that.
Imagine being lucky enough to be there to see that.