Falklands orca: "She is the only killer whale on the planet that knows how to hunt these seals in this way. And crucially, she's now passing on that skill to her own calf," ~ David Attenborough (BBC Life)
The waters around the Falkland Islands, off the east coast of mainland South America, are home to one resident population of orca, commonly sighted in coastal waters during the summer months when penguins and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) are breeding.
Type A, B and D Antarctic ecotypes have also been sighted in these waters. It is believed that they may travel from up from Antarctica to moult their skin, although a lot of questions remain to be answered: do type B orca pass through Falkland waters often? Do type D orca actually occur there? And do the type A orca migrate to Antarctic waters also?
U.S. scientists who study the Antarctic orca are keen to find out what is really going on around the Falkland Islands. If anyone has any photographs of orca from this area, please email them to Helen Otley - heleno (at) southcom.com.au
These photos are a must see - orca playing in the wake of a yacht off the coast of Baja coast.
Increased sightings of orca in Alaska are raising questions. These four animals, part of a group of 13, were photographed on 20th August swimming in the Beaufort Sea off the coast of Barrow. Scientists say "the killer whales may be mammal-eating orcas that follow gray whales to northern waters."
Read more here:http://www.adn.com/2012/09/10/2619704/increased-sightings-of-orcas-in.html
Whale surveys spot orca in the Alaska Arctic - "Orca have been seen before in the Arctic ocean but are considered unusual that far north."
Type B Antarctic orca cooperatively hunt together by creating waves to wash seals off of ice floes and into the water. This technique is known as 'wave-hunting'. But in this rare video footage, the orca let the seal go. CNN news reporter says: "They didn't want a meal today, they just wanted a chance to teach their children about a hunting technique that may come in handy the next time their hungry." With an interview from Dr. Ingrid Visser of the Orca Research Trust.
Orca flying through the air as they chase after a group of dolphins in Monterey Bay, California (recorded 2008):
Ari Daniel Shapiro reports from the Shetland Islands in Scotland, taking a look at field studies being conducted on the Shetland orca. A great podcast about orca research, with interviews from orca biologists Volker Deecke and Andy Foote:
More food for the Southern resident orca of the Pacific Northwest: Washington State receives $22 million for salmon recovery projects state-wide. "We hope the hatcheries piece of it will be carefully calibrated to boost wild fish runs over the long term while providing catchable salmon in the short term," says the Orca Network, based on Whidbey Island, WA.
What does a passing tanker ship or motorboat sound like to orca? How does the sound affect their behaviour? Researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are heading out to Puget Sound to try and find out. They are planning to attach underwater microphone suction tags to Pacific Northwest resident orca. Lasting for about 3.5hrs, the tags will record audio and depth measurements whilst the orca are hunting. Correlations can then be looked for between the data collected and vessel traffic, as well as other noise contributors.
“We’re interested in trying to figure out if the noise levels are interfering with the whale’s ability to communicate effectively during foraging and or actually interferes with their foraging.”
A great information sheet looking at using DTAGs to study acoustics and behaviour of Southern resident orca of the Pacific Northwest - biologists are hoping to examine sound exposure, sound use and behaviour:
“We’re interested in trying to figure out if the noise levels [of water craft] are interfering with the whale’s ability to communicate effectively during foraging and or actually interferes with their foraging.”
The DTAG has a variety of sensors including a hydrophone, to record received sound levels at the whale, and accelerometers to record their 3D movements under water. It is attached by suctions cups to the skin of the whale for a few hours before release at a pre-set time. It then floats for recovery.
Here's a video and description of the suction-cup tagging by NOAA to get dive and acoustic data on Southern resident orca of the Pacific Northwest.
BREAKING NEWS: Dr. Ingrid Visser and the Free Morgan Foundation will be back in court again on November 1st in Amsterdam to speak out for Morgan and fight her corner!
Morgan was captured off the Netherlands coast in June 2010 for rehabilitation and release. They were going to prepare her for her return to the wild. Instead, they have taught her to perform. In August 2011, the Orca Coalition and their expert witnesses from the Free Morgan Foundation went to court to fight a court order which would allow Morgan's transfer from the Harderwijk Dolfinarium in the Netherlands, to captive display amusement park Loro Parque in Tenerife. The Coalition and Free Morgan Foundation were unsuccessful in court, despite the strong evidence they have to suggest Morgan will be a suitable candidate for release... Morgan is currently in Loro Parque now.
Let's help send this little girl home! Ingrid and all of those who are trying to help Morgan desperately need your help & support - to find out more and to donate, please visit: www.freemorgan.org