Video shows a rare brawl between a pod of orcas and 2 humpback whales in the Pacific Ocean




  • In Science
  • 2022-10-03 02:37:48Z
  • By Business Insider
An orca surrounds a humpback whale in the water
An orca surrounds a humpback whale in the water  
  • Whale watchers spotted an unusual encounter between transient orcas and humpback whales off the coast of Washington.

  • The Pacific Whale Watch Association said the fight lasted three hours before the whales disappeared.

  • One of the humpback whales, Hydra, was spotted on Sunday in good condition.

Tails slapping. Fins flying. And angry whales disappearing into the thick fog.

Fights between Bigg's orcas and humpback whales are rarely seen, but a whale-watching group witnessed a three-hour brawl on Thursday in the Salish Sea off the coast of Washington state.

The Pacific Whale Watching Association documented the skirmish in a video, which shows the large group of orcas and whales jumping and splashing in the water.

 

"I'm still trying to wrap my head around it because it was absolutely unbelievable," Mollie Naccarato, captain for Sooke Coastal Explorations, said in a press release. "At first the orcas seemed to be chasing the humpbacks, but then when it seemed there was space between them, the humpbacks would go back toward the orcas."

According to the Pacific Whale Watching Association, Bigg's orcas - or transient orcas - are known to feed on marine mammals like seals, sea lions, and porpoises, but there has never been a fatality between orcas and humpback whales in the Salish Sea.

As a result of protections for humpback whales in the Salish Sea and a record number of Bigg's orca in recent years, encounters between the two could become more common as their populations grow.

Naturalists identified the orcas and whales, the release said. One of the humpbacks, named Hydra, was spotted Sunday with minimal damage from the skirmish, Erin Gless, Executive Director of PWWA, told Insider.

"Today one of our PWWA captains, Joe Zelwietro of Eagle Wing Tours, spotted Hydra on their tour. He said she looked no worse for wear, a huge relief for me, as she's one of my favorite humpback whales!" Gless told Insider.

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