An epic battle between humpback whales and Bigg's killer whales is a marvel to watch, as it is s one-of-a-kind encounter between two huge animals in the sea. In a report via CBC News, whale watchers had witnessed humpback whales "saving" a poor Steller sea lion from being devoured by four Bigg's killer whales in waters off Spoke.
According to Michael Harris, head of Washington-based Pacific Whale Watch Association, the incident happened last Sept. 11. He said that the killer whales were hunting a Steller sea lion when two humpback whales intervened the hunt.
Two more humpback whales joined in saving the sea lion. Soon, the humpback whales get their bodies in between the orcas. The humpback whales flipped their flukes into the water, trumpeting very loudly at the orcas until they successfully drive them away as they escort the lone sea lion to another direction, RCI reports.
Whale watchers who witnessed the scene have their own descriptions of the "sea battle."
"The water boiled all around as the orcas tried to separate the sea lion from the humpbacks," Alethea Leed from Port Angeles Whale Watch Company, recalled.
"It was a wild scene with the humpbacks even circling the sea lion trying to keep him safe, while he frantically struggled to get his breath. The anxiety of the humpbacks was palpable, and they took turns diving and slashing at the orcas," she added.
Another witness, Veteran Capt. Russ Nicks of B.C. Whale Tours of Victoria, recalled seeing not only aggression but also defense. He described how the killer whales split into two groups: one group driving away their opponent while the other group tried to snatch the sea lion.
Amazing as their rescue maybe, why did these humpback whales saved the sea lion?
Harris says that whenever humpback whales fight off orcas, usually, nine out of 10 cases are to "save" smaller marine animals; thus, just like dolphins, these whales could also be altruistic.
Aside from this theory, it is also possible that since both whales are in a "new territory," they are fighting for ownership of the territory. Another explanation possible is that the killer whales are feeding on baby humpback whales; thus, the behavior is a defense mechanism to ensure that the orcas do not feed on their young.
Know more about the "superheroes" of the ocean by checking out the video below:
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