Three sightings of killer whales or orcas in Cardigan Bay were reported by the marine organization and conservation charity Sea Trust on Monday, July 27. The whale was seen near Mwnt and was believed to be in the middle of hunting sea trout and salmon close to the Teifi estuary.
According a member of Sea Trust named Cliff Benson, the sightings were notable because these whales are usually spotted off the coast of Pembrokeshire.
"[The whales] will range from as far away as Norway, Shetland, the Hebrides and the west coast of Ireland even to the Canaries," said Benson. The killer whales are said to be on the lookout for massive groups of herring and mackerel. As the weather is not exactly conducive for going out and initiating sighting activities, he urges everyone to please report sightings, taking into consideration appropriate demeanor to prevent wildlife abuse.
The said orca may be a type of a large male killer whale known as the John Coe. These kinds of whales have been seen in Scotland and Pembrokeshire coast and are known to swim through the Irish Sea during the summer period.
Killer whales are the largest variations of dolphins and are considered to be one of the most fierce predators in the world. They feed on marine life creatures including sea lions, seals, squids, fish and even whales. According to the National Geographic Society, their teeth can be as long as four inches and they can grab their preys, particularly seals, right off the ice. They are usually located in cold coastal waters but can also be found along the polar areas and the Equator.
Orcas look for food in pods and large group comprising of 40 individuals. Two groups of killer whales may be observed based on their hunting differences, particularly the prey they look for and techniques they use to hunt them down. The two pod populations are known as resident pods that target fish, and transient pods that prefer to eat marine mammals. The methods used by these killer whales are most often effective and are comparable to the techniques used by a pack of wolves.
One distinct feature of the killer whale is its black and white color. This species is intelligent and can be trained to perform in shows and other attractions. Major human expeditions to hunt down killer whales have not been reported so far.
Photo: Shawn McCready | Flickr