An international team of marine biologists has made the first-ever field observations of rare Omura’s whales – one of the least known species of whales in the world – while working off the coast of Madagascar.

Prior to that, just 44 of the whales had been spotted since they were discovered. Omura’s whales are so rare that scientists are not sure exactly how many exist in the world.

“Over the years, there has been a small handful of possible sightings of Omura’s whales, but nothing that got confirmed,” noted lead author Salvatore Cerchio in a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution release.
They appear to occur in remote regions and are difficult to find at sea because they are small – they range in length from approximately 33 to 38 feet – and do not put up a prominent blow.”

Moreover, the author told Fox News that “No one had studied these animals.(..) No one had seen them or documented them in the wild and they were not supposed to be in Madagascar. The work that we’ve done has extended their range significantly.”