In Australia they capture the first photos of killer whales hunting and killing a blue whale

In Australia, A pod of killer whales, also known as killer whales, has been observed for the first time hunting and killing adult blue whales, the largest animal on the planet.

Marine scientists from Cetrec WA (Cetacean Research) recently published a study documenting the spooky but important finds.

They detailed how killer whales swam into the mouths of huge whales to eat their huge, nutrient-rich tongues just before they died.

While there has been anecdotal evidence of killer whales chasing and attacking blue whales that can grow to more than 100 feet in length and weigh up to 200 tons, the kill has never been scientifically documented, John Totterdell, the paper’s lead author, told Insider.

For the first time, the hunt for the largest animal in the world was captured: the blue whale.

“Here we provide the first documentation of killer whales killing and eating blue whales: two individuals killed, 16 days apart in 2019, and a third in 2021,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Remarkably, the first whale caught appeared to be a healthy adult.”

Researchers arrived at the first kill of a 72-foot-long blue whale to find that large chunks of skin and blubber had been ripped from its body and most of the dorsal fin had been chewed off.

It was followed by relentless attacks by the killer whales, where three lined up against the blue whale and pushed it underwater, while two attacked its head.

The study explains that 50 killer whales joined the pod for six hours to feed on the carcass.

“This study, combined with our recent research, highlights the need for a greater understanding of killer whale population ecology so that we can better determine their impact on the marine ecosystem in Australian waters,” says Totterdell.

Australian sighting settles debate

Totterdell also told Insider that prior to the sighting in Australia There has been a longstanding debate among marine biologists about whether killer whales can kill a giant blue whale, saying it had been the “dominant school of thought” that it is not possible.

However, this new study presents groundbreaking evidence that killer whales prey on the world’s largest creature, and may even have been going on for centuries, Totterdell said.

Previous studies had concluded that whale attacks had to be carried out by the largest killer whales, which are male and can grow up to 30 feet long, to be successful.

But the new research documented that blue whale killings were led by female killer whales, and the study says the drive to feed their calves could make them more aggressive.

One of the things this study represents, Totterdell told Insider, is the exciting things we have yet to learn about what it’s like to have an ocean fully and sustainably populated with whales.

“No one alive today has seen an ocean full of whales,” he said.

“None of us have ever known an ocean where they haven’t been depleted. Now we have to learn what it’s like to have this population, and that’s exciting. Over the next few decades, we’re going to find out what the new capabilities of our ecosystems are.”

The International Whaling Commission estimates that blue whale populations are increasing by between 2.4% and 8.4% per year, and commercial whaling was banned in 1986 after they were hunted to near extinction.

The global population of blue whales is estimated to be 5,000 to 15,000 mature individuals as of 2018.

“I doubt they’re going to have much of an effect on blue whales yet,” Totterdell said. “But look, we’ve seen one, we’ll have to see what happens in the next couple of years. It’s all new. That’s what’s exciting.”

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