Monday, March 5, 2012

Orcas Hear Willy By: Graham Slaughter

Rating= ****

This article is a good learning experience on why there are endangered species.  In this article it explains how Orcas communicate to find their prey.  In this case the Orcas are located on the northern end of Vancouver Island, in the Johnstone Straight.  The Orcas in this area are very picky eaters.  These Orcas like to eat Chinook.  In quiet waters they can detect Chinook from 100 metres away.  They need really quiet waters so they can detect the sound waves that come back from the Chinook.  The sound waves get interfered by ships when they go through the straight.  The boats can interfere with the sound waves from the Orcas by sending identical sonar waves back to the whales.  Now Transient Orcas are not affected by human made sounds due to the fact that their prey has very good hearing and their prey are seals, dolphins and other porpoises.  The way these Orcas hunt is by a game of “hide and seek”.  The low frequency sonar waves can cause Orcas to almost swim up onto the shore.  Specialists are now realizing that this can cause serious harm. 

I would recommend this article to whoever is a whale lover or anyone who wonders why the population of Orcas are decreasing.  This shows that Canadians should become more aware of how our activities affect the way different species live in this country.  

Graham Slaughter. “Orcas Hear Willy” Canadian Geographic Volume 131, No.6 (December 2011) Page 17-18

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