More orca questions

From: Howard Garrett (howard@orcanetwork.org)
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 16:10:22 EST


>Hi,
>
>Thank you for your quick response to our first set of questions.
Here are
>more from the other half of my fifth graders.
>
>>From Matt, Cassandra, and Bo: Have you ever seen an orca feed?
If so what
>does it do?

Yes, they often chase fish to the surface, which is like a wall for
the fish, then there is often a short chase. Sometimes the whales
swim against the tide while the fish are brought in by the flow.

Are orca whales friendly in the wild like dolphins?

Usually they go about their lives regardless of boats or people watching
them, but now and then they pass by a boat or swim upside down under
it, so they can get a good look, or they may spyhop or breach near
a boat or point of land where people are watching them, so they can
"people-watch."

Do orcas have eyebrows?

No, they lost almost all of the hair their ancestors had 50-60 million
years ago.

>>From Andrew and Hannah: Why do Orca's dorsal fins curve over when in
>captivity?

That's mainly because they have to stay on the surface much of the
time in captivity, so gravity, which has no effect underwater, tends
to cause the weight of the fin to flop to one side or the other.
Also, the flow of water when an orca is swimming helps to keep the
fin upright, and in captivity they don't have much opportunity to
swim very long or very fast.

Where do most orcas live?

They are found in all parts of all oceans, but they prefer the cooler
latitudes, north of 45 degrees, including the polar regions, because
those areas are more productive and have more fish to eat.
>
>>From Jehane and Neelum: What was your most interesting discovery about
>orcas?

I think I became most fascinated When I listened to the scientists
and watched the orcas, and realized that they were clearly aware
of themselves and their surroundings, and that each one was a member
of a clan that had long traditions and cultural lifestyles, different
from every other clan. They truly do live in extended family groups
that are like tribes of related individuals.

How did orcas get their name?

I'm not sure which name you are referring to. The name killer whale
came from "whale killer" because they sometimes prey on large whales.

Can you name an orca if you find one that has not been named? If
so what are some of their names?

The scientific names of the Southern Resident community orcas (J-
1, K13, L67) are given by the Center for Whale Research (www.whaleresearch.
com) The adoptive names are usually given by the Whale Museum in
Friday Harbor. You can find the names at www.whalemuseum.org.

>From George T. and Samantha: How does an orca's dorsal fin bend in
>captivity?

That answer was given above and there are other answers to that question
in the ASK archives.

>>From Derek and Anisha: Why did you decide to specialize in orcas?

If you look at the answer to Jehane and Neelum's question it would
be same answer.
>
>Sue Shirley
>Dedham Country Day School

Thanks for all your great quesitons.

Howard Garrett
Orca Network
2403 So. North Bluff Rd.
Greenbank WA 98253
(360) 678-3451
howard@orcanetwork.net



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