This is the moment a pod of rare dolphins known as false killer whales was seen in the sea off the United Arab Emirates for the first time in 24 years.
The rare sighting was caught on camera by a divers’ boat which later passed on the footage to the local Fujairah Whale Project.
Video Credit: CEN/@fujairahwhaleproject
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are actually large dolphins that get their name from the similarity of their heads to those of killer whales (Orcinus orca).
The pod was spotted in the Gulf of Oman, about four kilometres (2.5 miles) off the coast, and filmed by divers on a boat owned by the XR Hub Dive Centre from the resort city of Fujairah.
Dive centre boss Simon Nadim he could see about 20 dolphins in the pod, although he thought there could have been more underwater.
Mr Nadim said he passed on the clip to the Fujairah Whale Project and added: “They were the ones who told us they were actually dolphins.”
A spokesman for the Fujairah Whale Project said the only ever confirmed sighting of the species off the UAE previously was back in 1995.
He said: “Unlike their common name suggests, false killer whales actually belong to the dolphin family and can reach a length of six metres (20 ft).
“These large oceanic dolphins are more closely related to Risso’s dolphins, pygmy killer whales and pilot whales than they are to killer whales, all of which also belong in the dolphin family.
“Thanks to our citizen scientists we can add another species to the list of cetaceans that are observed in Fujairah waters.”
Marine scientist Robert Baldwin said: “The sighting has raised the interests of scientists, who now believe the species is probably a more regular visitor than records suggest.
“The rich waters of the UAE provide good hunting grounds for these remarkable, rarely seen marine mammals.”
False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens) are highly sociable and are known to form pods of up to 500 members, also forming pods with other species such as bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus).