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The Killer Whale (Orca) Orcinus orca

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kyile smith

on 22 May 2014

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Transcript of The Killer Whale (Orca) Orcinus orca

I am a resident of Washington State. Although I am currently stationed in Key West, Florida, the Orca whale is something very precious to the people of the Pacific Northwest.
Males can reach lengths of 32ft, weighing 22,000 lbs. Females can average 28ft long with a weight of 16,500 lbs.
Life span: 50-90 years.
Largest member of the Dolphin family (Delphinidae)
Appearance: black topside with white undersides, commonly white patches near their eyes.
General facts

Killer whales are commonly found in colder waters of Pudget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca (Washington) and British Columbia, Canada
Killer whales are the most widely distributed marine mammal in the world.
Washington, Oregon and Parts of California have the highest sightings per year.
The dorsal fin of a resident Killer whale is rounded off at the top, compared to straight up and down.
Killer whales travel in large social groups called "pods".
Habitat (Resident Killer whale)
Pods can contain between 2-15 whales at a time.
Some pods can have up to 30 whales, but rare in smaller waters.
Killer whales are highly social animals.
They rely on underwater sound for orientation, feeding, and communication (Echolocation).
Often they make whistles and pulsed calls. Researchers believed it is used for communication and during social activities.
Social Groups
Introduction
Orcinus orca
The Killer Whale (Orca)
Threats
There is said to be an minimum of 50,000 Killer whales remaining world wide.
During the 1980's whaling was very common in parts of Norway, The Soviet Union and Japan.
1961 the first whale was captured in California, two days after she was placed in a tank the whale died.
Oil Spills
Low fishery population(Southen Resident)
Commercial hunting
Conservation
In 2008 Washington fish and wild life submitted paperwork to declare the southern resident Orca endangered.
Plans have been submitted to: restore salmon populations, clean contaminated sites, prevent oil spills and raise public awareness.
All Killer whales are under the Marine Mammal Protection Act in the United States.
It is illegal to hunt Killer whales in the United States.
With the right understanding and support the Killer whale population can once again rise.
Reproduction
Sexual maturity of female killer whales is achieved when the whales reach lengths of approximately 15-18 feet. The gestation period for killer whales varies from 15-18 months, and birth may take place in any month--there is no distinct calving season. Calves are nursed for at least 1 year, and may be weaned between 1 and 2 years of age. The birth rate for killer whales is not totally discovered, but averages around one pup per 5 years.
Males are highly competitive for the right to mate with a female whale. Often you will kill scares on their backs as a result of fighting and signs of dominance.
Both male and female whales display a "dance" in the water and give off mating calls to one another.
Still to this date, much of Killer whale reproduction remains unknown.
Dietary Needs
varies (diet is often geographic or population specific) from fish to other marine mammals to sharks
Resident whales commonly prey on fish and other similar sized organisms.
Whales often hunt in packs, circling and cutting off schools of fish to feast on.
In Antarctica it has even been documented Killer whales flipping ice slabs, seals are on, as a group and eating the prey
References:
Killer Whale (Orcinus orca). (2014, April 25). . Retrieved March 9, 2014, from http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/killerwhale.htm

Lacz, G. (n.d.). Killer Whale. . Retrieved March 8, 2014, from http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/killer-whale/

Google Images

(2008). killer whales surfacing right next to the boat! United States:

Washington State: Department of fish and wildlife
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