Orcas, also known as killer whales, are vicious predators which feed on many species of marine animals, including even other whales. However, a group of orcas living around Monterey Bay went on a rabid killing spree and surprised the scientists.
Whale watchers witnessed the killing
Since last Thursday, the group of orcas made their fourth kill. Their last prey was the calf of a gray whale which they had separated from its mother and then mercilessly fed on it. Gray whales are one of orcas’ favorite preys, and Monterey Bay is a popular place where these two species confront.
What is even more amazing than the unusually high number of killings is the fact that this last hunt was witnessed by scientists. A group of whale watchers was out to spy on the orcas when they got the chance to watch a live killing.
Nancy Black, marine biologist, was one of the people who were offered this frightening view. She declared that this was the first time when she witnessed such an event, as this was one of the extremely rare occasions when people get to see a hunt taking place just in front of them.
“Just to witness that out in nature when you usually see that kind of thing on television is really spectacular.”
Orcas wait for gray whales to come back home
Monterey Bay is one of the main hunting places for orcas, since here they can encounter the gray whales on their way back from the waters of California. Many whales migrate to warmer waters, but this species is the last to return. They spend more time around Mexico and the Californian peninsula to allow their calves to grow and get ready for the journey.
When they swim north, gray whales usually stick closer to the shore to avoid predators. However, this becomes impossible when they reach Monterey Bay, as the geography does not allow any big animals to swim close to the coast.
This is where orcas lie waiting for their prey to approach. They usually wait for the calves to come near and attack them when they are most vulnerable. However, this year’s massacre was given by the gray whales’ late return.
The waters around Mexico were too cold, so they had to migrate to a more southern point. Thus, until they came back, the orcas grew hungry and slaughtered everything that passed in front of them. Although they must be full by now, they do not seem to cease the killings.
Image Source: Wikipedia