(This story describes the first known sighting of infanticide in Killer Whales. For more information head here.)
We had almost left when we noticed splashing back where we were with the whales. We figured, they might be on a hunt but we never guessed it was T46B5 being killed.
The fight that ensued between the entire T46B matriline and the T68’s was something I’ll never forget. The vocals were so intense and calls that have never been heard before. After the fight, the T68’s proceeded westbound carrying the calf in their mouth. The T46B’s followed about a mile behind but never got much closer than that. The T68’s were still carrying around the calf when we had to depart due to lack of light.
Please give the paper a read. It’s something that has never been seen in any other mammal species other than humans (mother assisted infanticide) and certainly gives us a new perspective on their social structure.
It was amazing to watch the entire T46B matriline work together to try and recover the calf. even though it was sad to see, it was amazing to be witnessing a scientific discovery unfold in front of your eyes.