Thursday, April 13, 2017

Who were these orcas?

In Futurismo we are very happy when we see orcas around. The animals that pass in our waters are migrator orcas, that means they keep swimming around the North Atlantic looking for food to eat. We never know when we are going to see them and for how long. Orca is the largest species of dolphins that exists and they live in well-organized and complex social structures within their podwhich often consists of large groups of family members that can span several generations. In fact the social structure of killer whales is considered one of the most stable social structures of any animal species and is sometimes compared to the cultures of humans and elephants.

In this case, the pod we saw this days was a pod with only females and babies; they were feeding, so in a hunting mode; we didn’t see any male around but for sure they were somewhere, maybe further away looking for more food or protecting the females from the distance. Orca’s nickname is killer whale; this name comes from their feeding habits. Orcas are considerate as ‘Top”(alpha) predators of the seas; they can feed on any fish but also in bigger marine mammals such as seals, dolphins or even larger whales than themselves. As a general rule, migrator orcas (wich is the case of this ones) are the ones that feed on everything that they can find. In Azorean waters they had been seen hunting Fin whales and dolphins. The technique they use is the same as the humans used on land when they run after the big mammoths; this is: the extenuation. So they go after them chasing them up until the whales are too tired and then they will suffocate them; until they drown. This could be a reason why are very often seen during the baleen season, they could be a prize for the orcas.

You can see in this video below, the orcas feeding on ‘something’; this ‘something is quite big and when we arrived to the area two fin whales were around the orcas all the time. Could it be that when we get to area they were just eating the rests of a small whale they killed? Was it a peace of big fish, a shark?

We will never know that, but check this  video and  photo we took of the orcas, 'playing' with the 'something'  and  judge by yourself!

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