A team of Canadian scientists captured a video which can be said as the ritual of mating between two orcas. The video was captured by a team of scientists at the coast of Vancouver, Canada, who saw the incident. It happened when a team of scientists were working on an event at their lab – OrcaLab, an underwater microphone caught strange calls from orcas in the region. This video captured a never-seen-before attack of a male killing a newborn orca by drowning.
It shows a newborn killer whale just a day old, his 28-year-old mother and two daughters swimming near the western coast of Canada. Another group of orcas came along comprising of a 32-year-old male adult orca and his 46-year-old mother. At first, it appeared that the male from the second group got a prey when it tried to drown the newborn whale while his mother blocked calf’s mother from reaching him.
Dr. Jared Towers who is a cetacean researcher from Fisheries and Oceans Canada reported how the calf’s mother tried to reach out to her infant and in an attempt, hit the male so hard that his body was shaking and blood was oozing out through the air, however, the male didn’t leave the infant. The male caught the infant between his teeth and didn’t let it go even after impacts from the calf’s mother who invested everything she got to protect her infant.
Researchers suggest that there are species around the globe who kill offspring of the same species and it is termed as ‘Infanticide’. It is practiced by mammals mostly when a male member is required to reproduce with several females, for instance, lions and dolphins are two of many examples that do kill offsprings of others in the same species. Ari Friedlander, an Ecologist at the Oregon State University stated how this incident involving orcas is different from others due to the fact that the mother of the adult male killer whale who supported her son to accomplish the task. A research paper published in the Scientific Reports depicts this video as the evidence of the first infanticide recorded where both male and his mother involved in such an incident and therefore, it is being touted as a sexually selected behavior exhibited by killer whales for mating purposes.
The scientists went further by studying the behavior of other mammals and only after contemplating through the results, they were able to state that the reason behind an adult male orca killing an infant orca for a sexual purpose.