The King of the Ocean
Today is World Orca Day - here's a celebration of the marine world's top predator
These apex predators are the largest of the dolphin family and can weigh over 5,000kg and grow to nearly 10m in length. Other than humans they are the most widely distributed mammal on the planet ranging from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
They are highly social and live in pods of up to 40 members and hunt in packs. Females stay within their pods for life.
One of the most popular places for encounters with orcas underwater is in the Norwegian fjords when the orcas come in to hunt for herrings.
Download this poster from NOAA as a high-res PDF.
Hunting in highly organised groups, orcas will take on any prey. Researchers believe there are two type of pods – resident and transient. The transient are the most aggressive and are highly efficient and feared, sweeping into areas taking any prey they can find. Below is an image of an orca surfing in on the waves breaking on the shores of Patagonia to seize seal pups.
Orcas roam over vast areas - one pod studied off the West Coast of America regularly travels 2,000 kilometres from Alaska to Southern California.
And don't forget the horror that is inflicted on the 68 orcas still being held in captivity. Support Born Free's & WRCS's #TankFree campaign.