A New Species of Orcas? Don’t tell the Whale Killers!

(Photo by J.P. Sylvestre/NOAA)

By now most orca-addicts know that the recent rare sighting of orcas in the subantarctic area of the ocean could signify a new species. Some have heard of this mysterious orca, but very few have ever seen one of these fabled mammals.

There are photos of these orcas that date back to 1955.  A few other photos surfaced in 2005 confirming that these orcas were still alive and hadn’t been made extinct by the Japanese whale slaughter in the southern ocean.

Although an actual orca, these whales do have a different appearance than the orcas most are familiar with. For starters, they’re smaller and have a more rounded head. Most interesting, however, is the very small eye patch they have (compared to the orca eye patch most are familiar with).

Scientists are currently studying bits of whale skin nipped off by darts fired from a crossbow. The dart does no “critical” damage to the whale, and both the dart and the skin can then be retrieved from the water. A genetic analysis will determine how this new orca compares to other killer whales. (I wonder why this is necessary.)

It’s been reported that these smaller orcas are often chased off by the larger ones when both are grabbing fish from fishermen’s nets. If these new whales don’t socialize or breed with the other orcas, that could account for their differing structure and size.

There likely won’t be many whale-watching trips to see these orcas, however, since they live in the 40-50 degree area of the southern ocean. This “Roaring 40s” area is the most violent, storm-prone area in the world since there are no land masses to break up the waves…or the weather. Maybe this distant, formidable habitat will enable them to stand a chance of survival now that they’ve been found!

Can we assure them the right to continue to live harpoon free?

Inhumane Whale Slaughter Increases

00dca-orca2BphotoImmoral. Inhumane. Inexcusable.  These may be the best words to describe the Japanese, Danes (Faroe Islands), Norwegians and  Icelanders who persist in slaughtering whales despite the IWC ban on such activity.

Even though whale meat is in sharp decline, and world opinion finds whale harpooning an act carried out by demonic, barbaric nations, Icelandic authorities, like Japanese authorities, are flexing their muscles and thumbing their noses at world opinion and the IWC’s ban on whaling.

Numerous scientific studies leave no doubt that whales are intelligent mammals who communicate with each other, navigate in ways modern military is unable to master, feel pain and anguish, and care for their young (far better than many people).

Icelandic whalers plans to kill 2000 whales over the next five-year-period, justifying such slaughter by insisting that the number of whales has increased to support a yearly kill of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales every year until 2023.

This almost matches the gut-wrenching 900 orca whales slaughtered by Russia in a one-year period.

It’s difficult to say what drives the blood-lust of nations to allow the merciless slaughter of these gentle giants to continue. World opinion is souring on these nations and this act of cruelty. Even many citizens of the offending nations find the killing of whales to be immoral and reprehensible.

Whaling countries face warranted international condemnation.  Literally tens of thousands of whales have been killed since the whaling ban was put into effect.

(This topic is covered in more detail in the forth coming Saving Our Oceans.)

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Release date: May 2019