Killer Whales in Captivity Pliny the Elder While killer whales are today seen as sentient and intelligent creatures which are in need of conservation this has not always been the case. Indeed, killer whales were once seen as aggressive and predators — similar to the contemporary view of sharks. The killer whale was captured off the coast of British Columbia, Canada apparently to be used as the basis of a life-sized sculpture for a marine park. A foot, one ton killer whale was harpooned and dragged back to shore, but once there it was revealed to still be alive.
Orcinus citoniensis fossil, an extinct species of the same genus, Museo Capellini in Bologna Modern orca skeleton, Naturalis Leiden. Orcinus orca is the only recognized extant species in the genus Orcinusone of many animal species originally described by Linnaeus in in Systema Naturae.
The killer whale lineage probably branched off shortly thereafter. Indeed, the genus name Orcinus means "of the kingdom of the dead",  or "belonging to Orcus ". Since the s, "orca" has steadily grown in popularity. The term "orca" is euphemistically preferred by some to avoid the negative connotations of "killer",  and because, being part of the family Delphinidaethe species is more closely related to other dolphins than to whales.
They are sometimes referred to as "blackfish", a name also used for other whale species. These are the most commonly sighted of the three populations in the coastal waters of the northeast Pacific. British Columbia and Washington resident populations are amongst the most intensively studied marine mammals anywhere in the world.
Researchers have identified and named over killer whales over the past 30 years. The diets of these whales consist almost exclusively of marine mammals. However, the saddle patches of transients are solid and uniformly gray.
The term has become increasingly common and may eventually replace the transient label. A third population of killer whales in the northeast Pacific was discovered inwhen a humpback whale researcher observed them in open water.
As their name suggests, they travel far from shore and feed primarily on schooling fish. Offshores typically congregate in groups of 20—75, with occasional sightings of larger groups of up to Offshores appear to be smaller than the others, and females are characterized by dorsal fin tips that are continuously rounded.
The eye patch slants forward. Transients and residents live in the same areas, but avoid each other. Two dwarf species, named Orcinus nanus and Orcinus glacialis, were described during the s by Soviet researchers, but most cetacean researchers are skeptical about their status, and linking these directly to the types described below is difficult.
It has a large white eye patch. Most of the dark parts of its body are medium gray instead of black, although it has a dark gray patch called a "dorsal cape"  stretching back from its forehead to just behind its dorsal fin. The white areas are stained slightly yellow.
It feeds mostly on seals. Its eye patch is distinctively slanted forwards, rather than parallel to the body axis. Like type B, it is primarily white and medium gray, with a dark gray dorsal cape and yellow-tinged patches. Its only observed prey is the Antarctic cod.
The first video record of this type in life happened between the Kerguelen and Crozet Islands in And although nothing is known about the type D diet, it is suspected to include fish because groups have been photographed around longline vesselswhere they reportedly prey on Patagonian toothfish Dissostichus eleginoides.
Of three orca ecotypes in the Antarctic, one preys on minke whalesthe second on seals and penguins, and the third on fish. Another ecotype lives in the eastern North Atlantic, while the three Northeast Pacific ecotypes are labeled the transient, resident and offshore populations described above.
Research has supported a proposal to reclassify the Antarctic seal- and fish-eating populations and the North Pacific transients as a distinct species, leaving the remaining ecotypes as subspecies. The first split in the orca population, between the North Pacific transients and the rest, occurred an estimatedyears ago.
Such a designation would mean that each new species becomes subject to separate conservation assessments. Calves are born with a yellowish or orange tint, which fades to white. It has a heavy and robust body  with a large dorsal fin up to 1. Antarctic killer whales may have pale gray to nearly white backs.
Adult killer whales are very distinctive, seldom confused with any other sea creature. The firm middle and back teeth hold prey in place, while the front teeth are inclined slightly forward and outward to protect them from powerful jerking movements. Dorsal fin s also exhibit sexual dimorphismwith those of males about 1.
Variations such as nicks, scratches, and tears on the dorsal fin and the pattern of white or grey in the saddle patch are unique. Published directories contain identifying photographs and names for hundreds of North Pacific animals.
Photographic identification has enabled the local population of killer whales to be counted each year rather than estimated, and has enabled great insight into lifecycles and social structures. Lawrence Islandand near the Russian coast.Whales in Captivity - “ building a tank the size of Rhode Island wouldn’t be large enough for a six-ton male killer whale such as Tilikum, an animal capable of swimming miles a .
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