Do killer whales eat humans?

From: Phil Clapham (pclapham@mercury.wh.whoi.edu)
Date: Tue Oct 05 2004 - 07:24:22 EDT

  • Next message: Phil Clapham: "I want to be whale zoologist...but I don't know how to do."

    Hi Amey:

    I'm happy to tell you that you, not your teacher, are right! Killer
    whales don't eat humans. There have been a couple of cases in which
    captive killer whales in aquaria have injured or even killed a person;
    some years ago a trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium was held down and
    drowned by a killer whale in a tank. But there was no lunch involved
    afterwards, and anyway you can't really say much about the natural
    behavior of killer whales from observations of animals cooped up for years
    in a small tank. Killer whales are intelligent and highly social animals
    - they stay in the group they're born into, for life - and they range over
    great distances in the wild... so if you stick one in a tiny tank all
    alone, it's not entirely surprising that they go a bit loopy after years
    of captivity. I probably would too!

    Killer whales are divided into two types. One type eats fish, and the
    other type feeds mostly on marine mammals (seals, dolphins, occasionally
    big whales). The two types have nothing to do with each other and they
    are probably on their way to being separate species.

    Anyway, now your problem is you have to find a kind and gentle way to tell
    your teacher that she's wrong. Good luck!

    Phil

    -- 
    Phillip J. Clapham, Ph.D.
    Large Whale Biology Program
    Northeast Fisheries Science Center
    166 Water Street
    Woods Hole, MA 02543
    

    Tel (508) 495-2316 Fax (508) 495-2066

    > hey, my name is Amey > and i was just wondering if you could help me. i was sat at school today > and my teacher told us that killer whales eat humans, but i debaited > with him that they don't according to a book i read. do they eat > humans? i know they have had a accident with one years ago but its not > a habit, is it? > thank you for your time



    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Tue Oct 05 2004 - 18:48:16 EDT