Near the maritime border between the United States and Canada, biggs orcas and humpback whales engage in combat in the Salish Sea.
An extraordinary and dramatic interaction between orcas and humpback whales was reportedly witnessed this week off the coast of Vancouver Island, according to a global whale watching and conservation organization.
The Pacific Whale Watch Association reports that on Thursday morning, a sizable group of transient orcas, sometimes known as Bigg’s orcas, were observed harassing a couple of humpback whales close to the maritime border between the United States and Canada.
According to a PWWA news release, the event started just after 11 a.m. in the Juan de Fuca Strait, some 40 kilometers west of Victoria and Port Angeles, Washington.
According to the company’s statement, “Crew members with Eagle Wing Tours were the first to identify a group of roughly 15 killer whales being exceptionally active at the surface.”
Soon later, Captain Jimmy Zakreski of BC Whale Tours, another whale watcher, found the probable source of the orcas’ excitement: two humpback whales nearby.
Although orcas have attacked humpback whales before, according to the PWWA, it is unusual for them to do so because they usually hunt smaller prey like seals, sea lions, and porpoises.
Despite the fact that no documented cases of orcas killing humpback whales have been found in British Columbian waters, the organization predicts that confrontations between the two species will worsen over the next several years as both the transient orca and humpback populations in the area have been expanding.
The confrontation on Thursday reportedly featured an astounding three hours of breaching, tail-slapping, and loud vocalizations before all of the whales vanished into the fog, leaving the final outcome of the battle a mystery, according to observers who came and went throughout the day.
The two humpback whales involved have been named BCX1948 “Reaper” and BCY1000 “Hydra” by scientists, while the orcas engaged are thought to be a part of pods that are more frequently spotted on the outer shore than in the strait.
It was so astonishing, said Mollie Naccarato, captain and naturalist for Sooke Coastal Explorations, in the PWWA statement, “I’m still trying to put my head around it.”
The orcas initially appeared to be chasing the humpbacks, but as soon as it appeared that there was room between them, the humpbacks would turn around and head back in their direction.
According to the PWWA, its members want to run upon Reaper and Hydra one more before they start their yearly winter migration.