A close encounter with a killer whale all in the name of science

An Antarctic scientist has captured extraordinary footage of a close encounter with a killer whale.

Dr Regina Eisert was filming earlier this month while carrying out research in the Marine Protected Area of the Ross Sea region.

While collecting biopsy samples the University of Canterbury marine mammal expert saw the Type-C Killer Whale make its approach for a camera Dr Eisert had in the water.

“It was really special, the only way I can describe it is like when a cat offers you a mouse,” Dr Eisert said.

Dr Eisert was researching whether whales would be affected by a change in toothfish availability in the sea, which makes the moments being caught on camera incredibly informative.

“Here I am carrying out research to help protect the Ross Sea region and find out whether or not the whales eat toothfish, and one comes up showing me it does.

“Whales are highly social and there has been an instance in the past where a leopard seal offered a diver a penguin, but I’ve never had an experience quite like this."