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WATCH: Dolphin stampede goes viral

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Friday, April 4, 2014, 8:03 PM -

A breath-taking video of a dolphin stampede has spread like wildfire across the internet, garnering more than 5 million views in a little over a month.

Captain Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point used a drone to film a pod of thousands of common dolphins stampeding off Dana Point, California -- an area which is home to approximately 450,000 dolphins.

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The film also features grey whales migrating off the coast of San Clemente, California, and an appearance of a baby humpback whale in Maui.

"This is the most beautiful and compelling five minute video I have ever put together," Captain Dave says on his YouTube page.

"I learned so much about these whales and dolphins from this drone footage that it feels like I have entered a new dimension! I have not been this excited about a new technology since we built our underwater viewing pods on our whale watching boat. Drones are going to change how we view the animal world."

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, common dolphin populations are relatively stable.

But other dolphin species are facing significant threats.

The Araguaia river dolphin, for example, was officially announced as a species in January of this year.

"It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region's biodiversity,'' biologist Thomas Hrbek told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting.''

But the recent discovery has been marred with tragedy.

A lack of conservation efforts, as well as agricultural and ranching activities in the species' native Brazil has put the Araguaia river dolphin at risk of extinction.

Researchers are racing against the clock in an attempt to save the beleaguered species.

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