Pacific Northwest
H. Zell / Wikimedia Commons

WA - A Pod of Outcast Orcas Dominate an Entire Sea

Despite the global whale population decline, killer whales are thriving.

Granny the Orca

The locally famous orca lovingly referred to as 'Granny' was spotted on the northwestern coast of Washington State. The matriarch of J-pod, one of the three local orca pods that thrived in the Salish Sea.

Experts believed that she lived for over half a century, regarded as the oldest killer whale before her disappearance in 2016, says National Geographic. She often returned every summer to birth babies and wean. After avoiding being sold to a marine park in the 1960s, Granny became the leader of a pod of orcas.

She thrived while many of the species were captured and has seen the transformation of the once rocky farms to wealthy urbanized neighborhoods.

Soon after Granny's suspected passing, a pod of six orcas with five offsprings of transient orcas was spotted on the coast. Unlike Granny's pod, these weren't part of the resident pods and irregularly visited the coastal waters.

These orcas traveled in smaller packs that are known for their hunting abilities. These orcas are known to tip sheets of ice to catapult seal into the sea or takedown porpoises midair.

Resident pods often work together to hunt salmon, prey that isn't known to resist aggressively. The more aggressive the prey, the higher the likeliness of injury during battle.

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