The orca, or “killer whale,” is actually the largest member of the dolphin family. Despite its common name, the killer whale has never actually killed or eaten a human being in the wild (only in captivity). Even in the wild it is inquisitive and approachable. Orcas live in pods — close-knit family groups — and the pod is stable from one generation to the next. Its members usually stay together for life.
Man is the orca’s only enemy. And while there is no real commercial value in hunting orcas, a perceived conflict between man and whale in pursuit of a common source of food has led to many orca deaths from fishermen. There are no real population estimates for the orca. All we really know is they are found in all the oceans of the world, prefer colder waters for the most part, and are usually found within 500 miles of major continents. Whether they are truly threatened by man or not remains unknown.
Please visit the Orca Homepage for wonderful photos of orcas in the wild, as well as a listing of orcas in captivity and factual details of their plight.