Footage recorded off the coast of New Zealand reveals a first look at wild dolphins’ lives in the absence of humans.

The camera, strapped behind the dolphin’s dorsal fin, has recorded rarely seen behaviour in wild dolphins, including how mothers and their calves interact, how dolphins play with kelp, sexual behaviours and social behaviours such as flipper-rubbing. A total of eight cameras were attached to wild dusky dolphins using suction cups, with the results published in a paper published in the journal Marine Biology.

The cameras had memory cards, high frequency and satellite transmitters, time and depth recorders and a battery life of six hours. Attaching the cameras firmly but without hurting the dolphins was a challenge, as the agile and fast-moving animals could quite easily brush it off while swimming at speed.

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