Renowned marine hunter orcas now target planet’s largest animal blue whale. Find out how

WION Web Team
London Updated: Jan 28, 2022, 04:43 PM(IST)

Orcas have been recorded to hunt the planet’s largest animal – the blue whale (representative image). Photograph:( Twitter )

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As per a paper published in Marine Mammal Science, orcas or female-led pods of killer whales have been recorded killing and eating blue whales in three separate attacks carried out off the coast of Australia since 2019. Earlier, there were reports of these predators “chasing” blue whales, which grow up to 33 metres long. The authenticated attacks were extremely rare till now

Orcas are renowned around the world for their highly specialised hunting techniques, which have been passed down over generations.   

These marine animals have now gone one step further. They have been recorded to hunt the planet’s largest animal – the blue whale. This has been done in coordinated and brutal attacks, according to a report in The Guardian.  

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As per a paper published in Marine Mammal Science, orcas or female-led pods of killer whales have been recorded killing and eating blue whales in three separate attacks carried out off the coast of Australia since 2019.  

In the paper, researchers wrote, “Here we provide the first documentation of killer whales killing and eating blue whales: two individuals killed, 16 days apart in 2019, and a third in 2021. Notably, the first whale taken appeared to be a healthy adult.”  

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Earlier, there were reports of these predators “chasing” blue whales, which grow up to 33 metres long. The authenticated attacks were extremely rare till now.  

This study is the first to document these killings. It gives a lot of details about the coordinated attack of these predators and says how orcas swim inside the mouth of the blue whale to eat its tongue before it dies.  

The attacks were observed from commercial whale-watching vessels.  

(With inputs from agencies) 

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