Animal Picture of the Day:
Leaping Orcas


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.

More Info:

Drone Video of Five Gray Whales… Plus a Dophin Pod

5 gray whales

A camera mounted on a drone offers a unique and special view of a group of five gray whales. They even pass through a pod of dolphins. The aerial footage of these majestic creatures is truly amazing.

From Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari:

In this beautiful and amazing footage filmed on Wednesday a pod of migrating gray whales passes through a pod of common dolphins.

Whale watching passengers and crew aboard “Manute’a,” a high-tech whale watching catamaran sailboat operated by Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari in Dana Point, California, initially believed that there were only three animals because the whales were not all surfacing at the same time. Captain Dave joined them in his small inflatable boat, launched his small drone quadcopter, and with the unique aerial perspective provided by the drone, Captain Dave could see that there were actually five gray whales. As the drone followed the whales from a safe and respectful distance above, Captain Dave and passengers aboard Manute’a watched the gray whales intersect with a pod of wild dolphins.

“In nearly 20 years of whale watching, we have never seen this many gray whales in one season. Whale watching is really amazing right now. And being able to film the whales from above opens a window into these animals’ lives. As you see in the video I could see them from the air the entire time the drone was above them, but from the boat they were invisible once they went under the surface. You can see the whales roll over on their backs and interacting with each other. Wow! I love have access to this POV,” says Captain Dave.

Gray whale sightings continue to break records in March! The remarkable season for gray whales began in December 2013 when sightings broke all of Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari’s previous records. It continued when gray whale sightings in January and February 2014 demolished all prior records as well. And now March is making history too. Whale watchers with Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari have had 272 gray whale encounters from the first of March through the 20th. In comparison last March had only 216 sightings for the entire month!

Gray whales average 40 to 50 feet in length and have the longest migration of any mammal. Each year the whales migrate 10,000 to 12,000 miles round trip from their feeding grounds in the cold waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas to the warm lagoons of Baja, California, to mate and have their calves.

Gray whales face several challenges during their migration including killer whales and entanglement in gill nets. According to scientific estimates entanglement kills nearly 1,000 dolphins and whales ever day around the world.

Captain Dave formed Orange County’s first whale disentanglement group in 2008 and has been involved in disentangling several whales, including a gray whale named Lily, whose disentanglement in Dana Point Harbor made national headlines. He authored the award-winning book, “Lily, A Gray Whale’s Odyssey”, and recently launched his new power catamaran, “Lily Whale Research/Rescue Safari,” a 62-foot luxury whale watching vessel that has also been specially equipped to rescue entangled whales and dolphins as well as conduct photographic recapture research.

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