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Band of brothers: Humpback whales work in unison with 'bubble-net fishing' to corral a meal off Alaskan coast


Feeding time: Three humpback whales rise in tandem to gobble up a school of fish after blowing bubbles to trap them just under the surface of the Pacific off Alaska

Like a band of brothers, these humpback whales are so close they hunt in near-perfect unison.
By cleverly blowing air at depths of 600ft, they create a bubble net that traps their prey near the surface.
Then with the grace of synchronised swimmers, the 35-tonne giants break waves at just the right time to devour the fish.

Air snare: By cleverly blowing air at depths of up to 600ft using their powerful lungs, the humpbacks can create masses of bubbles which confuse and trap their prey

Keeping their trap shut: The whales close their mouths as they sink beneath the surface with lunch well on the way to their stomachs

With whales needing to consume around 3,000lbs of food a day, it is essential they work as a team to corral as many fish as possible.
Photographer Jon Cornforth caught the feeding session in the waters of Frederick Sound in the north east Pacific Ocean, near Alaska.
As winter turns to summer, humpback whales travel from the warm coast of Mexico to the northern waters off Alaska to feed on fish such as salmon that are returning to their spawning grounds in huge numbers to breed.

Teamwork: With the whales needing to consume around 3,000lbs of food a day, it is essential they work as a team to corral as many fish as possible

Humpbacks can weigh two tons at birth and grow to more than 45ft and 40 tons when full size.
They can dive for up to 45 minutes, reach depths of 600ft and blow out air from their blowholes at speeds of 300mph. Their lungs can hold 2,500 gallons of air. Every humpback can be identified from the unique marking on the underside of its tail.
Once under threat from whaling ships, thanks to laws protecting them the humpback whale population is now increasing each year, with current world numbers estimated to be more than 60,000.

Open-mouthed: The 35-tonne giants make sure they break the surface at exactly the same time to ensure they snare as many fish as possible before they can escape the bubble net

source: dailymail