killer whales

You can stop calling North Atlantic killer whales type 1 and type 2

north atlantic killer whales

A new paper by Dr. Andy Foote just came out; it encourages people to stop calling North Atlantic killer whales “type 1” and “type 2”. These two types were defined by Dr. Foote himself during his PhD research. Let’s find out why we should stop talking about two types in the North Atlantic. How the two …

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How Long Do Whales Live?

How long do whales live? Whales have some of the longest life spans in the mammal kingdom. In fact, several whale species have been recorded to live over 100 years old! Which whale lives the longest? Do captive whales live longer than their wild counterparts? How can we calculate the age of wild whales? Let’s …

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Scientists develop a model to reveal wild killer whales’ diets

A new study presented a method to reconstruct killer whales’ diets using the lipid composition of their blubber. By measuring these lipids, called fatty acids, in the killer whales’ fat and those in their potential prey, scientists can estimate the abundance of each prey species in the whales’ diet. This new method may hold the …

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Why do baby orcas look orange?

Every time a southern resident calf is born, orca lovers all around the world sigh in relief. The critically endangered population is struggling to stay healthy in an environment full of stressors, including noise, chemical pollution, and a serious lack of food. You might have come across baby orca photos in the news. Have you …

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The Leopard Seal – September 2021

Welcome to our new “whale of the month,” the leopard seal. This muscular seal has a large reptilian-like head and is the third-largest pinniped in the world. This Antarctic seal has also been featured in a TikTok video on a beach in South Australia, a couple of days ago. Whether you came here from TikTok …

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Some fish-eating orcas have worn out teeth: Here’s why

Worn-out teeth, also called tooth wear, are pretty common in cetaceans. Although there are many documented cases of tooth wear in captivity, worn-out teeth exist in wild whales. And especially those who eat a lot of fish, like herring-eating killer whales. In this post, we explain why eating some fish can damage wild killer whale …

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Preying on marine mammals might be threatening the survival of Icelandic orcas

Scientists have for a long time thought that orcas in Iceland specialized in eating fish (like herring). Recently, however, experts have noticed that some Icelandic orcas seem to enjoy another type of snack: marine mammals. This could be a problem, and eating marine mammals could threaten the long-term survival of these orcas. In this post, …

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Third newborn for Southern Residents: Killer whale baby boom

L125 orca

Fresh news in the killer whale world, Surprise! (L-86) just gave birth! Since July 2020, three different Southern Resident Killer whales have given birth! J35, Tahlequah, who lost her baby about two years ago, gave birth on September 6th, 2020, to a baby boy, J57. Next, J41, Eclipse, was the second mom, giving birth to …

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The Mystery of Menopausal Whales

What do middle-aged women and whales have in common? Perhaps the unexpected answer is … menopause. Although they don’t have to suffer through hot flashes and mood swings, several whale species stop getting pregnant midway through life. So-called post-reproductive lifespans have puzzled biologists for years. After all, evolutionary theory taught us that the whole purpose …

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Whale Scientists Story: Danielle Conry

Danielle Conry

Marine mammalogist Danielle is a 31 years-old South African working on killer whales for the Marion Island Marine Mammal Programme (MIMMP). Her journey has involved many exciting opportunities that has led her to where she is now. She discusses how COVID-19 has halted some of her plans, but has not deterred her in the slightest. Danielle discusses with us her very unique killer whale necropsy and how she found love in the process…