‘Wolves of the sea’ return to canyon with calves

Saskia AdystiAlbany Advertiser
A pod of orcas at Bremer Bay Canyon
Camera IconA pod of orcas at Bremer Bay Canyon Credit: Naturaliste Charter

The killer whale season off Western Australia’s south coast has started with the sighting of two calves.

The orcas have returned to Bremer Canyon, a hotspot for marine activity about 200km east of the Albany coast which attracts giant squid, white sharks and other marine life from January-April.

Naturaliste Charter marine biologist Brodee Elsdon said she was amazed to see the calves appear so early in the season.

The youngest of the calves is thought to be less than six months old due to the orange discolouration still visible around its blubber.

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“You can see the orange tinge because their blubber is not fully formed yet,” Ms Elsdon said

“Around six months (old) to a year they will start to develop thicker blubber once they’ve been weaned and are eating more meat.”

Ms Eldson said she had recorded four different pods of orcas at the canyon this season and they often hunted together as a group. “When they all go for a hunt, the female pod including the mother will take the calves away while the rest go hunt,” she said.

“And it seems like one of the female whales has played the role to protect the mother and its calves during each hunt, even though she was from a different pod.”

Orcas are often referred to as the wolves of the sea thanks to their use of tactics to catch prey larger than them.

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