Bigg’s (Transient) Killer Whales Hunt a Harbour Seal – 17/6/15

Serious Transient encounter today …. a drawn out life and death struggle between one Harbour Seal who managed to seek refuge next to a boat while three eager juvenile Transient Killer Whales refused to give up their prize.

T77D June 17
T77D

It is very fortunate that events like this are unusual to occur, as the whales are so good at killing seals they almost never give the pinnipeds a chance to escape. But this was a rare case where a seal did manage to skitter across the water (never seen a seal swim so fast!) to the safety of a boat, where the juveniles circled around it for quite awhile, cautiously trying to figure out how to snatch it away from the aluminum haul, where it was desperately trying to claw its way up to safety.

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The adult whales in the group kept their distance from the action, but whether they had their own quarry they were dealing with, were letting the youngsters figure out the puzzle of catching prey in extraordinary circumstances, or were wary of getting so close to the boat, is a mystery.

T65A3 June 17
T65A3

I heard that less than an hour after this incident they (T65As and T77s sans 77A) nailed at least one more seal, this time with no interruption.

It was repulsive to see the grinning, eager faces of the tourists peering over the edge at this traumatic, certain death moment for the seal. All the passengers seemed selfishly happy that they got to see the whales so close up and that the whole thing was “cool” with little consideration for the significance of a moment .

-Tasli

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