Spectacular new video shows southern right whale leaping from water off Wellington

Spectacular new footage has surfaced of a southern right whale leaping from the water in Wellington Harbour today.

The video taken by NIWA shows the large whale breaching the water and slapping its large tail on the surface of the water.

Commuters were given a rare treat this morning as the large mammal fed on a school of fish. Source: Mike Booth and Shamus McCarthy

The mammal was first spotted yesterday, frolicking in the water off Wellington.

Project Jonah tweeted, describing it as a "cool suprise" and identifying the whale as a southern right. 


Southern right whales are believed to live up to 100 years, can reach lengths of 15 metres and weigh up to 47 tonnes.

They are not endangered, being of "least concern" according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and are well-known in New Zealand waters.

The name "southern right whale" name comes from whaling times, when they were considered to be the ideal species to target for oil, and whalers referred to them as being the "right" whales to hunt.

They are known to be active on the water's surface and are frequently seen on whale watching expeditions where they are curious towards human boats.

The callouses on their heads have an unknown function in nature, though it is speculated they could provide protect from predators.

They are believed to have the largest testicles in the animal kingdom, with each weighing about 500kg.