Whales are some of the world’s most beautiful and mysterious creatures. They’re also extremely large and require a lot of food to survive, and one National Geographic host, speaker, and photographer has caught incredible footage of how one whale species gets a big meal.

Bertie Gregory has shared his video of an Eden’s whale sitting with its mouth wide open as fish pour into its mighty jaws in the Gulf of Thailand. Though the clip is amazing, it’s highly unusual for a whale to tread water, and the reason why is heartbreaking. According to Bertie, this behavior is thought to have been adapted as a way to catch food in highly polluted waters. Sewage from the land has removed most of the oxygen in the water, and the whale’s prey can only survive near the surface of the ocean.

To compensate for this, the whales tread water and keep the corners of their mouth slightly submerged, causing the water (and fish!) to flow into their mouth. The whale dives back under with a mouth full of food with this impressively successful strategy.

Bertie has captured additional footage of these stunning creatures. The lesions seen on the skin of the whale below are due to a skin disease, which whales are more prone to when they live in highly polluted waters.

These stunning creatures are another reminder of how important it is to protect our planet!

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