Clever Orcas Command Respect

*Orcas are the most widespread of the cetaceans (whales, dolphins, porpoises). These beauties are the pinnacle of mammalian evolution, and so worthy of our admiration and protection.

orcas attacking great white
The Salish Sea orcas live in three pods named J, K, and L.
Image credit: Tatiana Ivkovich, Shutterstock

With brains more than twice as heavy and as complex as that of humans, orcas are feared predators. It’s not just other cetaceans that must constantly watch their backs for sudden ambushes by pods of the intelligent ones. Orcas give great white sharks a lot of grief and occasionally much pain.

New research reveals that when pods of orcas enter an area around South Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco, California, the great white sharks immediately vacate their preferred seal hunting grounds. They will not return for up to one year.

orcas attacking great white
When great white sharks mess with orcas, it’s their worst nightmare come true.
Image credit: Mashable

Orcas have been recorded attacking great white sharks and eating their large livers, rich in nutritious fats.

Orcas have been recorded attacking great white sharks.”

Unprecedented fossil fuel ocean heat and overfishing have cooked and plundered the seas of its once thriving fish stocks. The orcas, like all other marine predators, are hungry. It’s not just great white sharks that are fearful of the brainy ones. Alaskan fishermen have added their names to the growing list, too.

orcas attacking great white
J52 calf showing the characteristic “peanut head” depression, or, starvation symptom, behind the outline shape of the skull covered by a thin blubber layer. Note eye in front of eyepatch.
Image credit: Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research

Gangs of orcas are shaking down Alaskan fishing boats for their fish. These masterpieces wait all day long for the fisher to accumulate its halibut catch, then they deftly split the nets open and rob them blind!

Large pods of orcas regularly chase Alaskan fishermen and feed from their catches.
Image credit: Bob Dalby

Pods of more than 40 family members relentlessly stalk individual boats, forcing them to hightail into port.

orcas attacking great white
In 2016, one of the UK’s last orcas, Lulu, was found dead on the Isle of Tiree in Scotland, suffocated from entanglement in fishing gear. Lulu was contaminated with “shocking” levels of man-made poisons.
Image credit: John Bowler/RSPB Scotland/PA

The orcas are sentinels of the sea, excellent barometers of ecosystem health. Frighteningly, they are full of long lasting Man-made poisons. 50% of the world’s orcas are so toxic with PCBs, DDTs, methylmercury, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, flame retardants, phenols, phalates and plastics that they are incapable of reproducing, doomed to extinction.

orcas attacking great white
A high security cetacean prison, which includes 100 orcas and belugas, is located near the port of Nakhodka in Primorsky Region, Sea of Japan, Russia.
Image Credit: Reuters

Instead of cleaning up Man-made poisons, we are accelerating the manufacture and use of these hideous cancer-causing chemicals.

While the rest of the world is emptying their tanks and padlocking dophinariums, Chinese cetacean prisons have more than doubled in the last couple years to 76. Cruel enslavement. Shame on China.

Russia, on the other hand, has ordered all its orcas and belugas in their whale prisons to be set free. Even the world’s fiercest leader, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, is exhibiting empathy towards our intelligent cetacean brethren.


Support the conservation movement Sea Shepherd because they are protecting the cetaceans.

There is hope. Respect the cetaceans and peacefully coexist with all other life forms on this glorious blue jewel, planet Earth.







Dr. Reese Halter

Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.

Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is
Love! Nature

Tweet @RelentlessReese

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