Killer whales in Monterey Bay Go On Killing Spree

Killer whales in Monterey Bay Go On Killing Spree

Killer whales off the cost of Monerey Bay are living up to their name.

The whales have reportedly chalked up their fourth kill since last Thursday after separating a helpless gray whale calf from its mother.

Scientists called the killing spree in the area “unprecedented.” In the case of the gray whale calf, sightseers on a whale watching tour had front-row seats during the hunt. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that whale watchers have been able to see, firsthand, hunts that are usually only seen in productions.

“This has never happened in my thirty years,” Nancy Black, a marine biologist with Monterey Bay Whale Watch, told The Chronicle. “Just to witness that out in nature when you usually see that kind of thing on television is really spectacular.”

Monterey Bay historically is a favorite spot for orcas to intercept migrating gray whales.

“Humpbacks like to interfere with the killer whales for some strange reason,” Black said.

“They seem to want to protect the prey.” She added that humpback whales will sometimes charge over to the site of the kill and blow their trumpets, trying to get the killer whales to back off.

Monterey Bay is a prime hunting ground for orcas as gray whales make their way up the California coast.

Black explained:

“Mothers and calves are last to migrate because they stay in Mexico longer so their calves can grow up and gain weight before they make that long migration.”

Killer whales Monterey Bay
Killer whales Monterey Bay

The mothers and their calves typically remain fairly close to the shore on their migration northward because it’s safer and food is more abundant. However, as they come across Monterey Bay, the geography makes it harder for them to stay close to the coast.

The killer whales are familiar with the gray whales’ migratory habits and are often wait in the bay for young, vulnerable gray whale calves to cross. This year, the arrival of the gray whales came a few weeks late (the water was cooler in Mexico, so the whales had to migrate farther south than usual), which meant lots of hungry killer whales were waiting.

“These nine whales must be very full yet continue to eat,” Black said. “I expect they will become even more social in upcoming days as they [usually] do after stuffing themselves.”

According to NBC, despite the feeding frenzy, the killer whales show no signs of slowing down.

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16 thoughts on “Killer whales in Monterey Bay Go On Killing Spree

  1. Killer Whales will target and hunt other whales when their usual food supply is disrupted. This is a knock on effect of over fishing which affects their feeding patterns. If we don’t want Apex predators to target their own species we need to change the way we interact with THEIR environmen

  2. There are 2 types of Orcas. Inshore ones on the west coast feed on salmon and seals. off shore ones hunt whales. They are predators and like all predators they target the young and weaker adults. not pretty but it happens

  3. Whale watching in Monterey is insane right now! Gray whales are migrating through, killer whales are hunting their calves, and humpback whales are trying to defend them. It’s nuts.
    This drone video shows humpbacks interacting with killer whales.

  4. Wow! one of the most prolific hunters in the ocean gets busy again! Lots happening in my new neck of the woods. I am excited to be moving somewhere where there is so much access to wild life.

  5. Last year= look at all the killer whale babies!!
    This year = oh my cosmos there’s so many killer whales needing to eat!!

  6. From the moment I saw a group of killer whales punting a seal pup back an forth I knew they were pure evil. I know that’s me putting human emotions to the animal kingdom, but they are the Ted Bundy and Fred West of the animal world. Even the snakes from planet earth 2 that hunt freshly hatched lizards look down their noses at them!

  7. Well let’s see. We fished all of their benthic dinners to near extinction. So they are forced to feast on the only thing big enough to be worth the effort that still exists… Remember, while we denuded our oceans of tuna, sordfish, and shark, we protected the whales. Protection works.

  8. I find it odd that this is ok and we say hey it’s nature. Yet when a human decides to eat meat he is condemned and labelled cruel and made to feel bad for doing what we are supposed to do. Are we not animals?

  9. I sometimes wonder why the Good Lord would have it that all living things be placed on a food chain, as it seems cruel beyond belief.:-(

  10. Normally, these orca would be feeding on smaller prey. Their normal prey is depleted because of pollution and over fishing, so this poor gray and her baby paid with their lives. It is nature out of whack, and people are the cause.

  11. Each pod of Orcas eat different things because they have their own fishing spots and fishing techniques. They are very smart and learn different ways and things to hunt over time and teach it to their pod mates. Also, Orcas eating Grey whales is not new, they have been on the menu for a long time.

  12. Nonsense. Gray whales have been preyed upon by orcas forever. Orcas around the world tend to specialize on certain species depending where they are located. Some eat fish exclusively, others prey on seals, and others prey on dolphins and other whale species.

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