A few days ago, tourists witnessed a rare sight off Australia: two groups of orcas attacked a young humpback whale. The fight will have lasted four hours before the orcs give up.
The Whale Watcher Australia is a company offering tourists whale watching sessions in Bremer Bay, Western Australia (southwestern tip). Gemma Sharp, co-owner of the company, has seen thousands of cetaceans in recent years, but she had never witnessed such a scene.
An attack took place on February 17. On one side there were two groups of about fifteen orcas and on the other a humpback whale, a male of about three years old.
A four hour fight
On board their boat, the tourists very quickly realized that the predators were surrounding the young male, trying again and again to knock him over and drown him. The flip-and-drown tactic usually works on small whales, but this young male, who still had his dorsal fin torn off, was too massive.
After a few hours, the whale finally got under the boat, taking cover for almost an hour. “We knew we were witnessing something important“Said at Sydney Morning Herald Gemma Sharp. “The orcas were in attack mode and the whale was desperately trying to protect itself“.
As the killer whales circled around the craft, the commotion finally drew a group of around fifty pilot whales and a few bull sharks.
Eventually, one of the two groups of orcas left. The second group, made up of six orcas, waited about 300 meters from the boat for several dozen more minutes. The largest of them, a nearly nine-ton male nicknamed El Notcho by whale-watchers in the region, attempted to run into the young male one last time, but the latter resisted.
An unpublished video
Finally, the orcs gave up after four hours, and despite losing its dorsal fin, the whale should get away with it. The team was able to capture this incredible attack on video, a first in the region.
Orcas are known for their sometimes virulent interactions with other animals. In 2018, a photographer had captured images of a group in the process of torment sea turtles off the Galapagos Islands. In 2016, a group of killer whales near the Antarctic Peninsula also had circled a seal isolated on an ice floe, before two humpback whales come to his rescue.