HomeOutdoorsNewsWATCH: 30 Orcas Launch Organized Attack on Gray Whales

WATCH: 30 Orcas Launch Organized Attack on Gray Whales

by Caitlin Berard
Pod of Orcas in Attack Mode Similar to Those That Attacked Gray Whales
(Photo by Ron Sanford via Getty Images)

Rare footage of orcas launching a coordinated attack on adult gray whales surfaced after an onlooker captured the disturbing scene on video Thursday.

Using a drone, Evan Brodsky explored the waters of California with Monterey Bay Whale Watch. Suddenly, he spotted at least 30 orcas, if not more, with two adult gray whales nearby. As he watched, the killer whales swam in unison toward their prey, attacking them mercilessly before attempting to eat them alive.

Now, for comparison, the average adult killer whale stretches between 18 and 26 feet, depending on their gender, and weighs somewhere between 8,000 and 12,000 pounds – sometimes even more. Meanwhile, the average adult gray whale is a staggering 45 feet in length, weighing between 30 and 40 tons.

When it comes to orcas, however, nothing is off the dinner table, not even great white sharks. So even though it’s uncommon for a pod of orcas to hunt down adult gray whales, it’s not entirely unheard of.

Gray Whales Flee From Relentless Orca Attack

Killer whales do typically go for gray whale calves, as they’re smaller and far easier to bring down. But with their impeccable teamwork, there’s no prey a group of orcas can’t conquer.

This particular attack likely occurred because it’s too early in the season for gray whale calves. Though they were born back in January and February, the newborns haven’t yet ventured through the Monterey Bay region.

According to Brodsky, the orcas’ attack on the gray whales lasted around 6 hours, per KSBW. Eventually, the gray whales split up, fleeing to shallower waters and hoping for safety.

Following the grisly sighting, Monterey Bay Whale Watch explained that gray whales and orcas are the most common in the waters off the Central Coast this time of year. As summer approaches, humpback whales and blue whales will take their place.

Orcas Are the True Kings of the Sea

Though the two gray whales were the orcas’ unfortunate targets this week, they’re far from the only sea creatures hunted by killer whales.

When you think of the king of the sea, the great white shark likely comes to mind. For good reason, too. Great whites are a truly fearsome sight to behold and have seldom few predators (far and away the greatest of which are humans).

The true ruler of the ocean, however, is the killer whale. Orcas have been known to chow down on a great white now and then, along with any other shark that crosses their path. Back in March, a whopping nineteen broadnose sevengill sharks fell victim to the unrelenting attack of a pair of these vicious predators.

The two notorious male orcas, known as Port and Starboard, slaughtered the sharks by devouring their livers and leaving them to die painful deaths. In 2017, the pair slaughtered at least eight great white sharks. In a similar attack, they dined solely on the sharks’ livers, leaving their nearly whole corpses to rot.