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Moment a friendly humpback surfaces near whale-watchers' boats 

Groups of whale-watchers were treated to a mesmerising display by a friendly humpback as it repeatedly surfaced next to their boats.

Photographer Nina Hernandez filmed the footage in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, using a GoPro camera.

She was able to capture stunning close-up images of the whale's mouth and eyes as it curiously played around in the water. 

Photographer Nina Hernandez filmed the footage in the Sea of Cortez, Mexico, using a GoPro camera

Nina was able to capture the humpback in stunning detail - including the grooves in the whale's skin and the barnacles that have attached themselves to it

In the clip, which was recorded in July, boats full of whale-watchers can be seen huddled together on the water.

The friendly humpback, one of about 120,000 believed left in the world's oceans, gracefully emerges from beneath the surface as the onlookers let out muted cheers of astonishment.

The beast then submerges itself once again and slowly turns in the water while letting out an inquisitive call.

The humpback continues to delight the tourists as it bobs in and out of the water as Nina captures it in stunning detail - including the grooves in the whale's skin and the barnacles that have attached themselves to it.

Nina uploaded the video to her Instagram page alongside a caption that read: 'Can't wait to see these amazing creatures again.' 

She was able to capture stunning close-up images of the animal's mouth and eyes as it curiously played around in the water

Groups of whale-watchers were treated to a mesmerising display by the friendly humpback as it repeatedly surfaced next to their boats

There are several hundred humpback whales who are known to spend winter off the coast in Mexico before migrating to central California for feeding season. 

They travel incredible distances every year and have one of the longest migrations of any mammal on the planet. 

But experts have issued words of caution for whale-watchers as humpback whales are vulnerable to vessel strikes.

Underwater noise also threatens whale populations, interrupting their normal behaviour and driving them away from areas important to their survival.

Humpback whales and their territory around the world 

Humpback whales live in oceans around the world. They travel incredible distances every year and have one of the longest migrations of any mammal on the planet.

Some populations swim 5,000 miles from tropical breeding grounds to colder, plentiful feeding grounds - this is why it is difficult to estimate population size, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Of the 14 distinct populations, 12 are estimated to number more than 2,000 humpback whales each and two are estimated to number fewer than 2,000.

Some populations (such as those off eastern and western Australia) are believed to number in excess of 20,000 animals—a remarkable recovery given that the same populations were almost eradicated by whaling almost sixty years ago.

By contrast, the smallest known population is one which inhabits the Arabian Sea year-round, and may number as few as 80 individuals.

Threats to humpback whales include decline in food like Krill due to a combination of climate change and industrial-scale fishing.

Humpback whales can become entangled by many different gear types including moorings, traps, pots, or gillnets.

Once entangled, if they are able to move the gear, the whale may drag and swim with attached gear for long distances, ultimately resulting in fatigue, compromised feeding ability, or severe injury.

There is evidence to suggest that most humpback whales experience entanglement over the course of their lives, but are often able to shed the gear on their own.

Inadvertent vessel strikes can injure or kill humpback whales.

Humpback whales are vulnerable to vessel strikes throughout their range, but the risk is much higher in some coastal areas with heavy ship traffic.

Underwater noise threatens whale populations, interrupting their normal behaviour and driving them away from areas important to their survival.

Sound has been shown to increase stress hormones in their system and mask the natural sounds humpback whales require to communicate and locate prey.

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