We have long known the modus operandi of orcas, aptly referred to as killer whales.
They chase their prey until it’s fatigued and then, as a pack, swiftly jump in and take down the animal, going straight for the tastiest part first.
In recent months, it has been suspected that it is a pod of orcas that has been killing some of the Cape’s biggest great whites. We have seen the results of these killings washed up on our beaches here, here and here.
While we have heard about their “surgical precision” in an attempt to extract certain body parts, it’s quite something actually seeing it happen, no matter what their prey.
When a boatful of scientists and tourists recently came across several orcas attacking a minke whale off Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, they knew they were in luck and filmed the killing with a drone, reports National Geographic:
“The orcas went after the whale for a long time, the drone was up in the air when [the whale] practically stopped resisting – it was tired but still sprayed water from the blowhole,” says Inessa Yuryeva, a coordinator for Team Trip, a partnership between the Far Eastern Russian Orca Project and the tour company Kosatka Cruises.
“Everyone was very excited—of course it is awful to see the whale suffer, but this is nature, and it is magnificent to come across a rare sight like an orca hunt up close,” said Yuryeva.
The minke whale below is the white whale in the opening shots. Trigger warning for sensitive viewers – it’s gruesome:
Although orcas are the only universal predator among cetaceans, in general resident orcas (those that stay in the same place year-round) eat only fish and squid.
What we have in the video above, below and eating our dear Great Whites, however, are transient orcas, the scarcer type which travel the oceans and prefer to take down bigger prey.
In the minke whale’s case, the tastiest part they went for first was the tongue. The orcas then tugged at the rest of the whale, and eventually left behind only the dorsal fin.
Badass feast, hey?
If you want more epic orca footage then watch this video of a pod charging a blue whale off the coast of Monterey, California:
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