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Pod of orcas frees a humpback whale from certain death. Was it intentional?

Manwon Lender

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In a strange encounter off the coast of western Australia, a pod of orcas seems to free a humpback whale from a rope entangling its tail. But were they really trying to rescue it?

It isn't clear whether the orcas (Orcinus orca) were trying to manipulate the rope or why they approached the humpback in the first place. Observers with Whale Watch Western Australia who caught part of the interaction on drone videoinitially thought the orcas might attack the hobbled humpback. Whale watchers have witnessed orcas brutally attack humpbacks before. For whatever reason, though, the humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae)escaped unscathed on Jan. 10, Whale Watch Western Australia staffers wrote in a description accompanying their video footage. It was the first observed interaction between orcas and a humpback in Bremer Bay, Australia, in summertime, they wrote. For the whale-watchers, the encounter seemed almost altruistic. Orcas do have complex social lives and well-developed brain regions that are associated with empathy and emotion (in humans, at least), but there's no way of knowing whether orcas feel a sense of altruism for fellow sea creatures.




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Hunters want their prey to thrive, else they have nothing to eat next season.

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4 hours ago, quiXilver said:

Hunters want their prey to thrive, else they have nothing to eat next season.

Maybe, but only the Orcas and the Humpback know for certain anyway it’s a cool story!

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