killer whales use three ingenious techniques to trap prey

Footage recently released by the BBC shows us a pod of killer whales using a variety of rare hunting techniques to trap and kill a seal in the waters of the Weddell Sea surrounding Antarctica.

This video, which is part of the new documentary Frozen Planet II from the BBC published this Sunday in the UK, proves once again how resourceful killer whales can be. And it is a poor seal, spread out on an ice shelf floating on the icy waters of Antarctica, who will pay the price.

Incredible coordination

It all starts with two Girl Scouts laying eyes on their next meal. After a brief analysis of the situation, the two orcs understand that they will not be able to overcome it alone. Comfortably installed on its ice platform, the seal seems imperturbable. Who could blame him? Unfortunately for him, it will not last.

Very quickly, the two scouts call for reinforcement with vocalizations. Two others killer whales then arrive as reinforcements to assist them. Then begins a very impressive first hunting technique during which the four large mammals lined up next to each other rush together towards the ice shelf in the aim produce an underground wave. The goal: to break this seal’s refuge into several pieces. This single attack could have been enough, but the animal still manages to stay out of the water.

Several images then show us the matriarch of the group looking for a new way to overcome it. Following his example, the rest of the group then coordinates their efforts to pushing his prey and his safety raft towards clearer waters. From then on, the killer whales generate a new wave to finally succeed in tearing the seal from its refuge. According to the documentary, only about 100 killer whales use this sophisticated coordinated hunting technique.

Fearing a potentially deadly bite, the orcas finally decide to produce thousands of small bubbles to disorient him. The technique works. They just have to use it.

Orcas are also known for their surgical attacks. Several recent reports have indeed shown that these animals were able to tear out the internal organs of great white sharks, such as their liver, with care. Killer whales aren’t put off by bigger ones either. Rare footage released earlier this year indeed showed them tackling at least two blue whales.

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