2023 Edition

Franco Banfi

Life Cycle, 2019

Tenerife, Spain

Category - Ocean Worlds

Life Cycle, 2019

I spotted this female short-finned pilot whale carrying her dead calf. They were surrounded by other members of the group. It was really sad to witness her pain but I was touched by the cohesion of the members in exhorting and consoling the mother during her endless swim. Short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) are very social marine mammals and have inquisitive attitudes. Members of the pod are strongly connected to each other and they do everything together: rest, hunt, socialise, play, travel… and burial. After some days, two females carrying their still-born babies were spotted wandering for a long time in the open sea, reluctant to let them go. The male kept me and the other divers at a good distance from the two females; he was never aggressive, but his intent to protect the two mothers was clear. It was heartbreaking to witness the entire group’s pain.


16-35 mm f/4 Lens - 1/250 sec at f/35 ISO 1250