Subject: Killer whales

Kim Marshall (kimm@oceanalliance.org)
Sun, 31 Oct 1999 18:40:11 -0500

>Question:  my mom and i were watching a program on tv. these killer whales
>were attacking a huge whale. they killed it and ate it. are killer whales
>dangerous to people and are they the same whales we see at sea world?
>
Reply: Dear Ryan,
Killer whales or orcas are not generally dangerous to people because we are
not the kind of food that they eat.  Killer whales are like wolf packs when
hunting for food.  They are wild animals which makes them somewhat
dangerous to people because they don't understand that we are vulnerable to
their strength. They are one of the species of whales that you see at Sea
World and trainers work hard to gain the trust of these very intelligent
animals and vice versa.

There was footage on TV where a great white shark was attacked and eaten by
a female orca. The story related to me from the Whale Museum in Calinformia
was that the shark appeared to be going after the female orca's calf when
mom attcked the shark. She killed the shark and then fed it to her calf. I
saw a little bit of the video shot by some shark researchers off the
central coast of CA.

Some killer whales eat marine mammals like seals but again would not try to
eat a  human.  Thank you for your questions, please checkout the following
resources for more information: For more information search WhaleNet's book
page at http://whale.wheelock.edu/whalenet-stuff/ed_resources.html#biblio
and links to WhaleNet.  Also try the Free Willy Keiko Foundation
(http://www.keiko.org/home/trainer/list.html).  Good luck! Kim


Kim Marshall-Tilas
Whale Conservation Institute/Ocean Alliance
191 Weston Road
Lincoln, MA  01773
(781) 259-0423
fax: 259-0288
website: http://www.oceanalliance.org