From: Howard Garrett (tokitae@pugetsound.net)
Date: Wed Feb 16 2000 - 01:20:21 EST

Subject: orcas

Hi my name is Tasha, and I am doing a school project.
I would like to know about orcas habits and if they have any enemies.

Dear Tasha,

        There is much to say about orcas, but I'll try to distill it down to some
essential facts. The second part of your question is easy. No, other than
increasingly rare human attacks they don't have any enemies except the rare
polar bear that drags a newborn up from a breathing hole.

        Probably the most important thing that distinguishes orcas from virtually
all other species, except pilot whales, sperm whales and a few similar
species, is the incredibly tight social cohesion among orcas. Within orca
social and family groups they are known to bond for life. That is, both
male and female offspring remain with their mothers throughout their lives.
No land mammal and very few cetaceans are so bonded. Extended families
share particular behaviors, diets and habitat usage, and engage in certain
rituals. Each community also uses its own unique system of vocalizations.
The various communities, however, are very different from each other in
their diets, habitat usage and vocalizations. So the different communities
found all around the globe have very different habits.

Howard Garrett
Tokitae Orca Conservation Foundation
Greenbank WA 98253
(360) 678-3451

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Aug 04 2001 - 10:40:12 EDT