science
Chronic Stress Makes Captive Orcas Sick and More Likely to Die Young

Diseases and premature deaths among confined orcas are linked to the tremendous stresses endured by these aquatic mammals as a result of their captivity, according to new research. Read More >>

animals
Mother-Son Orca Pair Commits Infanticide in Oceanic Shakespearean Drama

A pair of orcas earned their “killer whale” moniker one late autumn day in 2016 by committing the first act of orca infanticide ever captured on film. Read More >>

animals
Everyone Is Saying This Whale Is ‘Talking,’ but It Sounds More Like Farting to Me

There’s a killer whale in France that apparently has a special talent: It sounds like it can mimic human words. That certainly would be impressive and an exciting advancement of human-orca relations, but to my ears, the “words” sound a whole lot like fart noises. Read More >>

science
This Could Be Why Orcas Have Been Eating Great White Sharks in South Africa

A South African shark-watching hotspot has recently turned into the scene of a seaside horror movie. For several months, enormous great white shark corpses have been washing up on the Gansbaai beaches, often missing their livers as if feasted upon by cetacean Hannibal Lecters. But this is no movie—it’s just biology, ruthless as ever. Read More >>

science
This Story About Killer Whales Eating Great White Sharks Is Basically a Horror Movie Now

You might remember last month when orcas ate an enormous great white shark’s liver, Hannibal Lecter style, in South Africa. It seems the killer whales have decided, why stop there? Why not take the testicles and stomach, too? Read More >>

death
Clever Baby Seal Escapes Death by Killer Whales

This clever little seal narrowly escaped death by jumping into a Canadian couple’s boat—and it was all captured on video. Read More >>

animals
Why Do Humpback Whales Protect Other Species from Killer Whales?

It sounds like something out of a children’s animated film: the whale and the seal, at first put off by their differences, team up and become best friends. It’s like The Fox and the Hound but maybe less depressing? Read More >>

animals
SeaWorld Will Finally Stop Using Killer Whales… After Just a Few More Years of Exploitation

SeaWorld has this morning announced that it’s ended the practice of breeding orcas in captivity. It’ll also stop running its theatrical shows, replacing them with what it calls “natural” encounters with the animals—but only by 2019. Read More >>

animals
SeaWorld Cancels Inhumane Orca Show, Replaces It With New Orca Show About “Conservation”

So there’s good SeaWorld news and bad SeaWorld news. The good SeaWorld news is that, after decades of criticism, the park will phase out its infamous Shamu show next year. The bad SeaWorld news is that the killer whales will just star in a new show. Read More >>

animals
Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf

Here’s your feel good story for the day. NOAA researchers have captured what are probably the best aerial photos of wild Killer Whales ever and are here to explain how the images demonstrate an incredibly strong, collaborative family bond. Take the time to sit down and enjoy this video, in which marine mammal biologist John Durban walks you through what’s happening in each image. You’ll see other orcas bringing dinner to a nursing mother and family bonds that last as the whales mature throughout their life spans. All photos and captions courtesy NOAA: Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf An adult female Southern Resident killer whale (L94) nursing her calf. Lactation is energetically costly for these whales, and future photogrammetry images of the calf’s growth and the mother’s condition will reveal if the mother is getting enough food to support both herself and the calf. Note the distinctive saddle patch on the mother. This allows scientists to recognise individual whales in photographs. Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf Photogrammetry image the A42 family group of Northern residents. Killer whales travel in their matrilineal family group their entire lives. Here the matriarch A42 is in the middle with her newest calf beneath her. Note A42’s distinctive saddle patch. This allows scientists to recognize individual whales from the photographs and assess their health.  Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf New mother L91 eating a salmon as her newborn calf looks on. This fish was caught and given to her by other members of the family group, showing that relatives help her as she cares for her calf. Image to be used for health assessment. Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf A photogrammetry image of the entire I16 matriline of Northern Resident killer whales taken in 2014. This image shows the size of whales at different ages. Note the small, gray calf in the middle (I144), only a few months old, swimming to the right of its mother (I51). To the left of the mother is the calf’s older sibling (I129). Images to be used for health assessment. Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf Another image of I51 and her two offspring, this one taken in 2015. Comparing this image to the one taken the year before, one can see that the youngest calf (I144) has lost its grey mottling and grown considerably. It is now almost half the length of its mother and approaching the length of its older sibling (I129). These images show how scientists can track the growth of individual whales across time to monitor their health and condition. Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf Photogrammetry image of an adult female Southern Resident (J16) as she’s about to surface with her youngest calf, born earlier this year, alongside. Future photogrammetry will allow scientists to monitor the growth of the calf and condition of the mother to ensure they are getting an adequate food supply. Drone Captures First-Ever Aerial Photos Of Nursing Orca Calf Photogrammetry image of an adult female Southern Resident killer whale (J28) travelling with her juvenile offspring (J46). This image reveals the wide body profile of the mother, indicating that she is likely pregnant and due to have a second calf in the coming months. Read More >>

drones
A Drone’s-Eye View of the Smallest, Saddest Orca Tank in the US

You're probably familiar with the many injustices going down at SeaWorld, including the park's (weak) attempts at trying to make them right. But now, new drone footage is here to remind you that there are other parks tormenting orcas in equally horrible–if not even sadder—ways. Say hello to Miami Seaquarium's Lolita, a whale who lives in the smallest, saddest orca tank in the USA. Read More >>