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Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Find, identify and discuss the animals of all the SANParks

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Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Unread postby o-dog » Mon May 24, 2010 11:34 am

The killer whale (Orcinus orca), commonly referred to as the orca – and, less commonly, blackfish – is the largest species of the oceanic dolphin family.
Distribution: Found throughout the world's ocean
Food: fish to seals and even walruses and large whales. Adults have no natural predators.

From Wikipedia:
"Researchers have identified five distinct killer whale types distinguished by geographical range, preferred prey and physical appearance. Some of these may be separate races, subspecies or even species. Killer whales are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species.[3] The sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviours of killer whales, which are often specific to a particular group and passed from one generation to the next, have been described as manifestations of culture.

The IUCN currently assesses the conservation status of the killer whale as data deficient because of the likelihood that one or more killer whale types could actually be a separate species in need of protection. Some local populations are considered threatened or endangered due to depletion of prey species, habitat loss, pollution by PCBs, historic capture for marine mammal parks, and conflicts with fisheries. In late 2005, the killer whales known as the "southern resident killer whales" were placed on the U.S. Endangered Species list."

Has anyone seen this amazing mammal off our Coast and specifically in SANParks MPA's (Marine protected areas)?
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec

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Re: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Unread postby o-dog » Mon May 24, 2010 11:47 am

A work colleague has just reported seeing a large group of about 8 or 9 of these animals just south of Cape Point this weekend. He spends hours every weekend on the water, mostly between Simon's Town and Rocky Banks and this is the first time in almost 20 years of spending time in this area that he has ever seen them.

One of my best mammal sightings ever was in March 2006 seeing 2 adult Killer Whales off Walvis Bay. Although they were just swimming around the boat there was something amazing about seeing this animal...
Otherwise in my school days I remember seeing one off Camps Bay in Cape Town but thinking back it almost seems to good to be true to see this animal from class!!
:thumbs_up:
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec

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Re: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon May 24, 2010 12:51 pm

I saw 3 off the coast of Betty's Bay about 20 years ago.
My son saw one in the same area about 3 years ago.
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Re: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Unread postby o-dog » Mon May 24, 2010 1:05 pm

:thumbs_up: BB !

I have spoken to many researchers and mariners and it seems that having a sighting of this species is rare..almost like the pangolin of the bushveld :twisted:
Mana Pools: 11th - 20th Oct
KNP: 27th Nov - 5 Dec

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Re: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Unread postby Bush Baptist » Mon May 24, 2010 7:29 pm

It was quite a surprise. My wife spotted them and said they were wales, but they were travelling too fast. Luckily we were on a stretch that followed the coast for a while. They came up for air and we could see the white on the chin & flanks as well as the tall dorsal fin. We followed them for about 10 minutes before road went inland. It was a great sighting, two adults and a sub adult. We also saw our first Cape clawless otter not far from there.
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Re: Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)

Unread postby Adansonia » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:35 pm

Saw a few on a pelagic bird trip (departing from Simons Town) in December 2002.

Magnificent creatures.


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