California, US – The waters of Southern California have become the stage for a rare and captivating sight this holiday season as orcas, typically found in the waters off Mexico, have been spotted hunting along the coast. From the Channel Islands to San Diego, groups of up to a dozen of these marine apex predators have been thrilling whale watchers with their bloody and carnivorous hunts.
The orcas were first sighted on December 11 near the Palos Verdes area, where a violent spectacle unfolded as an orca head-butted a bottlenose dolphin 20 feet into the air, leaving a trail of blood behind. The tour agency, Pacific Offshore Expeditions, reported that the orcas also killed and consumed two common dolphins during this hunt. Subsequent reports from various tour agencies and eyewitnesses detailed further harrowing encounters with the orcas, including head-butting dolphins and hunting sea lions.
This unusual behavior has caught the attention of marine biologists and experts, who have noted that these orcas are typically found in the Eastern Tropical Pacific, between the Mexican border and the equator. These killer whales, despite being called ‘killer’, are actually the largest member of the dolphin family and are known for their violent carnivorous nature.
The pod’s first confirmed kill in the area may have been an endangered fin whale, which washed up on San Diego’s Pacific Beach covered in orca bite marks. This behavior is unprecedented for this particular population of orcas, and experts are now questioning what may have driven them to venture so far from their usual habitat. Nonetheless, these sightings have provided a rare opportunity for marine researchers and enthusiasts alike to observe these magnificent creatures in action.
The presence of orcas off the coast of Southern California has brought both fascination and concern, as their behavior contradicts what is typically observed in this region. As scientists continue to study and monitor their activity, the orcas’ uncharacteristic presence serves as a reminder of the complexities of marine life and the importance of preserving the delicate balance of our ocean ecosystems.