- This creature which is referred to as a killer whale is a member of the dolphin family. They are the largest members of the Delphinidae family.
- They can be recognized by their black and white coloring but orcas in different parts of the world have different patterning.
- A large male orca can reach 15,000 pounds.
To be this close to such a magnificent ocean creature is a real privilege and we are lucky to be able to share it. As the video at the bottom of this page shows, despite their size orcas can also be very precise when it comes to bagging a fish meal near a boat!
What Exactly Are Orcas?
This creature that looks a bit like a shark and is referred to as a killer whale is a member of the dolphin family! They are the largest members of the Delphinidae family. And they are very large – a large male can reach 15,000 pounds.
These guys are very widely distributed and are found in oceans all over the world. They can be recognized by their black and white coloring but orcas in different parts of the world have different patterning.
Why Are Orcas Called Killer Whales?
This term causes some confusion so how did it come about? Firstly, dolphins and whales are related so it is not too wide of the mark but that is not where it came from. The name was first used by ancient sailors who witnessed orca preying on large whale species. The sailors started calling them asesina ballenas which means ‘whale killer’. Eventually, this was flipped around to make them ‘killer whales’.
Their Latin name, Orcinus orca, is also interesting. Orcinus means ‘of the kingdom of the dead,’ and orca refers to a kind of whale.
Are Orca Populations Under Threat?
According to the IUCN Redlist, there is currently insufficient data to declare whether the orca is endangered or not. It can be very challenging to accurately assess the numbers of ocean-living creatures.
Nevertheless, orcas face several threats. We know that they can and do get caught in fishing gear and fishing nets. They are also challenged by toxic waste and general pollution entering the sea. These animals can be injured or killed in collisions with boats and can be disturbed by the noise pollution emitted by motorized boats and other craft on the sea. In some regions, they are still hunted for meat or aquariums. We need to do all we can to protect these unique creatures.
Watch the Amazing Footage Below
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