Whales Are Preying on Whales

New peril for gray whale survival? Predatory orcas spotted in Baja calving lagoon

Marine researchers have spotted a new peril for gray whales, one driven by their unique foraging needs that make them very prone to becoming victims of predatory activity such as that driven by bottlenose dolphins.

A research team studying gray whales in the Baja California region found one of the two dominant males in the group, a resident whale dubbed “Lamb” as he was found feeding on large fish on three occasions. The three observed events were about four months apart.

To date, the only known instances of gray whales being preyed upon by other marine mammals in the Western Pacific have been as a result of interactions with orcas and killer whales, as well as by killer whales. Such encounters have also included blue whales, humpbacks, and even killer whales.

Scientists have theorized that it is because of this unique dietary needs that it is so rare to see gray whales preyed upon. Orca hunting has shown to be a very effective way of removing gray whales.

According to the University of California, Santa Barbara, marine biologist Mike Raup, “In order to really understand what we are seeing, we have to go back a few years and look at what we did to monitor and study gray whales. And what we found very quickly was that for four months prior to this incident, we had not observed any of the gray whale preyed upon by orcas at all.”

The researcher continued, “Now that [the] event occurred, we’ve learned a lot about what we had been doing, and we had been relying on the fact that, ‘Oh, gray whales are very difficult to capture, so what if they are caught in a routine fishing net off of the California coast? They go into the water and they’re out there for a while, and then they’ll re-emerge and go into

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