Humpback whales surface to breathe beside thrilled swimmers in Tonga

Humpback whales come to Tonga to breed and mate in the peaceful and safe waters. It is one of the few places in the world where orcas and sharks do not inhabit the waters and pose a threat to the calves or their mothers while they are vulnerable. Tonga is also one of the few places in the world that will still allow people to slip into the water and share moments like these with one of the earth's most majestic and beautiful creatures. This whale was resting on the bottom he came up for air at the surface to the delight of the nature lovers swimming nearby. He is a large bull and he has come to these waters to find females willing to breed. He will compete with dozens of other males for an opportunity to pass along his genes. As recently as 100,000 years ago, humpback whales were the most intelligent animals on earth. They were intellectually superior to the ancestors of humans at that time. We are only now beginning to understand the complexity and the magnificence of these incredible giants. Yet sadly, some countries are still hunting and killing these whales.

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