January 25, 2021
Killer Whale Legacy
- as seen by -Martin Brogger @tinchobrogger
It happened in just one minute.
The female killer whale (Orcinus orca) spotted two young southern elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) and swam toward the beach where she intentionally stranded for a moment to reach the prey. This hunting technique is commonly displayed by orcas at Punta Norte, Península Valdés, in Argentine Patagonia.
Killer whales are highly social and long-lived animals. They form stable matriarchal groups of related individuals. Adults pass their hunting experience on to the young, teaching them the stranding procedure. The beaching of orcas at Punta Norte was first described in 1975 by Chubut province park ranger Juan Carlos Lopez and his wife Diana Guevara.
It is estimated that about 20 to 30 orcas are sighted regularly along the coast of Península Valdés. Their conservation transcends the typical species approach to expand into the preservation of a culturally transmitted behavior unique to this spectacular animal at this location.