killer whales

17 Stories

'I Can't Believe' She Is Still Carrying Her Dead Calf

Worried another orca, J50, has days to live, officials may intervene

(Newser) - Scientists have been unable to determine how an endangered orca calf died because—as of Wednesday, 16 days later—its mother still won't let it go. "I am sobbing ... absolutely shocked and heartbroken," researcher Deborah Giles tells the Seattle Times . "I can't believe she is... More »

Orca Mourning Her Calf Gets Some Relief

Orcas are taking turns carrying corpse into 10th day

(Newser) - An orca who spent more than a week carrying her calf following its July 24 death now has some help. Other orcas in the pod swimming through Pacific Northwest waters near the US-Canada border are taking turns carrying the corpse after the effort caused the 20-year-old mother known as J35... More »

A 'Gut-Wrenching' Mother's Grief in the Puget Sound

Orca won't let go of her calf, who died shortly after being born Tuesday off the Washington coast

(Newser) - What's being described as a "gut-wrenching" scene is playing out in Puget Sound, and it's been going on for at least three days. The Seattle Times reports on J35, an orca who gave birth on Tuesday only to witness her calf die 30 minutes later—and she'... More »

'Soul' of the Pacific NW Is Dying of Starvation

Killer whales are succumbing to a variety of factors, including pollution and lack of Chinook salmon

(Newser) - "I believe we have orcas in our soul in this state." Those were the words of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year after forming the Southern Resident Orca Task Force , an initiative meant to keep endangered killer whales alive in the region. Contributing to their extinction there,... More »

Ancient Romans May Have Had Thriving Whaling Industry

The discovery is reshaping historians' views of the Mediterranean Sea's past

(Newser) - Newly uncovered evidence suggests ancient Romans may have had a thriving whaling industry. Per the Guardian , archaeological excavations at three Roman-era fish processing sites near the Strait of Gibraltar, which connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea, found the ancient bones of two whale species not known to frequent... More »

Never-Before-Seen Behavior in Orcas Surprises Scientists

Researchers see the first known case of infanticide among killer whales

(Newser) - Scientists have observed a behavior never before seen in killer whales, and it makes for a grim discovery. Following strange calls from orcas off the northeastern coast of British Columbia's Vancouver Island in December, researchers observed the first known case of infanticide among the whales. After tracking down the... More »

Orca Learns to Mimic 'Hello,' Other Words

Nice job, Wikie

(Newser) - Orcas don't just wave and whistle. They also have the ability to mimic words like "hello" and "bye bye," as one killer whale has just proven. After discovering orca pods with unique "accents" in their communications—which naturally come in the form of whistles, calls,... More »

Wily Orcas Are Tormenting Alaska Fishermen

Whales are stealing thousands of pounds of their fish from boats

(Newser) - They're like pirates of sorts, but very, very large ones. Alaskan fishermen say they’re increasingly missing out on scores of fish they rely on to make a living because killer whales are making off with their catch. A few years ago, orca sightings in the Bering Sea were... More »

Dead Killer Whale's Body Holds Bleak Sign for Future

Lulu had 'shocking levels of PCBs' in her body

(Newser) - When Lulu died tangled in fishing nets in Scotland last year, she was one of the last killer whales in the UK. She was also "one of the most contaminated animals on the planet," Dr. Andrew Brownlow tells the BBC . Brownlow says Lulu's body contained "shocking... More »

'Unprecedented' Orca Hunting Frenzy Caught on Film

In just seven days, the orcas have killed four whales in Monterey, California

(Newser) - A pod of killer whales off the coast of Monterey, California, has intrigued biologists by going on a frenzied hunting spree that’s killed four gray whales in just seven days. Nancy Black, a local marine biologist and co-owner of Monterey Bay Whale Watch, caught the latest attack on camera... More »

Clever Seal Goes to Desperate Lengths to Dodge Killer Whales

'Most intense epic experience ever': boat owner

(Newser) - Seals are cute, curious, and apparently quite resourceful when they're trying to avoid becoming someone's dinner, per a story out of British Columbia. The CBC reports on the adventures of a survival-minded seal who, desperately trying to escape the clutches of the ravenous orcas pursuing it, hopped aboard... More »

Humpbacks Save Other Animals From Orcas

The 'why' part is unclear

(Newser) - Whale researchers say they've collected enough evidence to make a remarkable assertion: Humpback whales deliberately save other creatures from killer whales. The scientists collected 115 accounts between 1951 and 2012, they write in Marine Mammal Science . Maine ecologist Robert Pitman got the idea for the survey after seeing an... More »

SeaWorld Ending Orca Shows, Breeding

Whales now in captivity will be 'the last generation'

(Newser) - Months after the California Coastal Commission imposed a breeding ban on its San Diego park, SeaWorld says it will end its orca breeding program for good. Breeding will end at all three US parks this year, meaning the killer whales now in captivity will be "the last generation,"... More »

Here's Why Europe's Killer Whales Could Go Extinct

Study finds high levels of contamination from PCBs

(Newser) - Decades after they were banned, chemicals known as PCBs continue to pose a threat to marine mammals in the waters off Europe. The situation is especially dire for killer whales, the Christian Science Monitor reports. "We think there is a very high extinction risk for killer whales as a... More »

Orca Found Dead, Then Story Worsens

Endangered creature was pregnant, had teeth sawed out

(Newser) - That an endangered orca was found dead on the eastern side of Vancouver Island Thursday was itself gloomy news: Named J-32 and nicknamed Rhapsody, it was part of a population that had only 78 members, and thought to be one of only 18 able to reproduce. But the completed necropsy... More »

Bill Would Ban Orca Shows at SeaWorld

California legislator say it's cruel to keep killer whales in captivity

(Newser) - A lawmaker in California wants to put an end to SeaWorld's orca shows. Assemblyman Richard Bloom, a Santa Monica Democrat, proposed legislation that would prohibit the shows featuring trained killer whales, reports CNN . If passed, it would affect only the park in San Diego, not SeaWorld's other locations... More »

Nemo Sequel Rewritten After SeaWorld Controversy

'Blackfish' documentary inspires change to storyline, Pixar employee tells NYT

(Newser) - Pixar has rewritten the ending of its upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory , following a new documentary that criticizes SeaWorld's practice of keeping killer whales in captivity, according to a Pixar employee, the New York Times reports. The documentary, Blackfish, looks at the 2010 death of a SeaWorld trainer... More »

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