Orca live in family groups called pods. The most important member of the pod is the mother. There may be as many as four generations of Orca in the pod so the oldest female may be a great-grandmother!
- The members of the pod help each other. Even the males stay with their mother, often helping to look after their brothers and sisters. They may leave for short periods to hunt or mate.
- Orca are very vocal and communicate by clicks and whistles. Each pod has its own special sounds or dialect.
- There are usually 20-30 Orca in a pod but there could be as few as 3 or over 50. Smaller pods are sometimes formed when a large one splits after the death of the oldest mother. Very large pods are often two or three pods joining together for a while. They are called “superpods.”
- Some pods stay in a particular area and are known as residents.” Others travel from one place to another to hunt and are known as “transients.”
- Most Orca eat fish but some eat squid, seals, dolphins and even seabirds. Resident pods are mainly fish-eaters but transients have been seen attacking Blue Whales! This is probably where the name Killer Whale comes from. Whalers used to call them “whale killers.”
- Orca are clever hunters and often work together. They sometimes circle schools of fish to keep them close together. Then they take it in turns to swim through and eat them. Some Orca have been seen tipping sheets of ice to knock the penguins off
- The only threat an Orca faces is from a two legged land mammal - the human! They have been killed for food and by fishermen to stop them eating “their” fish. They are captured for dolphin shows and their ocean home needs to be protected from pollution.
Free Willy! Free Keiko! Free Corky! Dolphins in Captivity.
More and more people are beginning to realise that keeping whales and dolphins in concrete pools is wrong! They belong with. the families, free to live their lives in the oceans of the world. Even the best aquarium and kindest trainers cannot come close to providing a natural environment.
Those animals which survive capture are transported around the world to appear in the dolphin shows. They are trapped in small pools, surrounded by shouting humans and fed fish. People stand on them, ride them and force them to perform pointless tricks. Is it any wonder that they often live much shorter lives in captivity and suffer from stress?
What can you do?
- Don’t go to dolphin shows and try to persuade others not to.
- Write to organisations which own or support dolphin shows.
- Join groups working to make the world a better place for whales and dolphins.
- Enclose an S.A.E. when writing to environmental groups. It helps us save money for our campaigns.
Compiled by Robin Petch and Kris Simpson, Dolphinicity Surveys/International Dolphin Watch, Parklands, North Ferriby, E. Yorkshire, HU14 3ET. Telephone (01482) 634028