A whale watcher in British Columbia recently witnessed a rare encounter involving a group of killer whales that appear to attack humpback mothers and calves in the Salish Sea.
In a video clip taken by a local mariner on May 29 off the coast of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, orcas, also known as killer whale, repeatedly hitting the nearby water humpback couple, according to the check news.
Witnesses described the 30-minute encounter as a vicious attack by 13 orcas that may have targeted hunchbacked babies. “I think they killed the calf.”; However, there is no evidence that the calf was killed. Although not resurrected after the attack and no one has seen since. Vancouver Island Whale Watching (VIWW)Whale watching companies were involved in the subsequent search for these humpback whales.
Related: 13 weird things that ran aground on the beach
“Hopefully we can see the calf alive and well,” Rodrigo Menezes, an oceanographer at VIWW, told CHEK News. [there is] There is a lot of speculation about this.”
Cetacean experts are still unsure whether this rare encounter is really a deadly battle or just an accidental splash among cetaceans.
Encounters can be considered rare. But killer whales are known for their sometimes aggressive behavior towards marine mammals. A herd of killer whales off the coast of Australia has gathered and attempted to kill one of the surviving humpback whales. Live Science reported at that time.. in March Blue whales are not so lucky. When 70 killer whales hunt and kill mammals off the coast of Australia in an hour-long battle Live Science also reports..
Recent encounters with humpback whales include the so-called orcas. which are not in the same area as the Orcas that live Of the three groups, T100s, T123s and T46Bs, which range from southeast Alaska to central California, Mark Malleson, a marine biologist at the Whale Research Center in Washington, told Reuters. WordsideKick.com
Unlike resident orcas, Malleson said that they primarily eat salmon. Temporary killer whales are known to target marine mammals and some seabirds, Malleson said.
Although the temporary and resident killer whales are considered to be the same species. Their different geographical distribution and diet make them rarely interbreed and are classified as different ecosystems or subspecies. According to the Whale Research Center.
The number of humpback whales is increasing in the Salish Sea. It has only returned to the area after heavy commercial whaling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Malleson said. More and more are coming, Malleson said. “There is more interaction between humpback whales and killer whales” than in the past. he added
Encounters between the two species are likely to be documented now because there are “More eyes on the water” due to whale watching companies such as VIWW Malleson said.
However, despite the increased confrontation But the deadly interaction between killer whales and humpbacks is almost unheard of in the area.
“I’ve seen many interactions between humpback whales and killer whales over the past decade or two,” Malleson said. “But it’s not yet a serious attack.”
Did an orca kill this humpback calf? It’s certainly possible, Malleson said.
“If there are enough killer whales to separate the mother from the calf and they are considered Of course it is,” he said, “but I’m not sure this is the case with Nanaimo.”
Malleson added, “Many people misinterpret what they see when killer whales harass large whales.” The mother would have tried harder to stop killer whales, Andrew Trits, a marine mammal researcher at the University of British Columbia, told CHEK News. [the orcas] It’s just testing the waters and seeing opportunities.”
Even if killer whales slammed their bodies into the water to stun their prey, in this case killer whales might just play with the calf, Trites said.
The mother and calf have not been seen in the area since the encounter, VIWW told Live Science in an email, however, “after that no killer whales have been seen eating humpbacks. This would be possible in the event that they attacked and killed the calf.”
Originally published on Live Science.