Watch: Killer whales off iSimangaliso coast

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 30 August 2019

A group of boat-based whale watchers on a chartered tour off the coast of St Lucia, on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, experienced ‘one of the most unique sightings’ recently.

They were out watching humpback whales, a fairly common sight off the shores of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, when some killer whales (orcas) entered the territory and began hunting.

The charter company, which posted a video and some photos to its Facebook page said that the killer whales preyed on a baby humpback whale.

The company, Advantage Tours and Charters, said that the killer whales preying on the humpback was ‘a bit sad, but such is nature, carnivores have to eat.’

The experience of encountering these orcas was described as extremely ‘exciting’, ‘ rare’, ’emotional’ and ‘extraordinary’.

Also read: iSimangaliso marine protection expands significantly

Humpback whales feed off the waters of Antartica during the summer and then head north passing the South African coastline in winter on their way to breed in the warmer waters of Mozambique and Madagascar.

According to a paper published in the African Journal of Marine Science, referring to the movements of killer whales off the coast of South Africa, the occurrence of these predators does not appear seasonal, ‘although circumstantial evidence indicates that some individuals migrate from higher latitudes.’

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