National Geographic
Menu

Tag archives for killer whales

December 29, 2013: Rescuing Crocs, Navy Seals in Zoos, Swimming with Great Whites, Blackfish and More

Join host National Geographic Weekend host Boyd Matson and his guests as they try to save man-eating crocs from angry villagers, meet a retired Navy seal at Washington’s National Zoo, find out the dark secrets of performing orcas at Sea World, swim face to face with great white sharks, and survive avalanches by avoiding them.

Listening to Sperm Whale Sonar

Amazing. A few years ago in the Gulf of California, we found ourselves surrounded by a pod of female sperm whales sleeping peacefully like massive logs in a calm sea. One, followed closely by a seemingly protective companion, had a baby so new that it still trailed an umbilical cord as it swam with tail…

What Are Killer Whales Saying?

People who are listening to the killer whale calls in my previous posting are asking whether we have any idea yet of the meaning. Answer: not as language, but we do know some things. What we don’t know: We don’t know if they have words or language. We think they have signature calls (names) and…

Killer Whale Calls

The following audio was recorded in early October in Haro Straight off San Juan Island in Washington.  There were about 20 whales or so – if you close your eyes, you can picture the backdrop of a jungle just as easily as the ocean. A hydrophone was used to capture the sounds, and although it…

Killer Whales in Washington State: Serial Problems

We were just chatting in Ken Balcomb’s kitchen when out of the computer speakers’ white-noise static came a single whistle that stopped all conversation. They were coming! Moments later the kitchen was full of squeals, squeaks, whoops, buzzes—. At the windows with our binoculars, we confirmed that a familiar group of “resident” or fish-eating killer…

Kitchen Killer Whales

I was just standing on researcher Ken Balcomb’s kitchen porch looking out at Haro Strait, from Washington toward Vancouver Island, Canada, watching killer whales going by. Cool enough, but these were not the usual “residents” who hunt salmon. They were “transients;” mammal eaters. One way we knew: We’d been listening to the nearby hydrophones set…

August 25, 2013: Running Ultramarathons at 18,000 Feet, Meeting Captive Killer Whales, and More

This week, join us as we run a 137-mile race 18,000 feet above sea level, then we meet beach-dwelling wolves that fish for salmon like bears (and occasionally harass humans), and finally, we learn about the SeaWorld orca who has been connected with three human deaths to appreciate how hard the large, social mammals are to maintain in captivity.

August 4, 2013: Running 135 miles through Death Valley, Swimming with Navy Seals, and More

This week, we run 135-miles and gain 8,642 feet in altitude in a race through Death Valley, then we set a North American paragliding record, soaring 240 miles over eight hours, and finally, we meet a former Navy seal, living out her days eating fish and swimming for tourists at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

GYRE Expedition, Day 3- Late Afternoon (Monday, June 10)

ODILE’s Magic Desktop Lab – Odile Madden has brought two amazing pieces of equipment from the Smithsonian. One looks like a microscope stand without the microscope. The other looks like a little hand-held vacuum cleaner. Both fit on a desktop, and they’re incredible. The first shoots laser beams and the second generates x-rays. What you…

GYRE Expedition – Departure (Friday, June 7)

 From Seward, we left Resurrection Bay, past Rugged Island, and felt the full roll of an ocean swell addressing us broadside from the southeast, rolling us as we plowed forward. Around us, some of the world’s most spectacular coast. Sheer shores spired by eagle-topped spruces rising to snowy peaks that gleamed in the afternoon. In…

“Astonishing” and Rare Orca vs. Sperm Whales Video Explained

The other day Alexis Manning posted a link in the Nat Geo Daily 10 to a video showing rare footage of a pod of orcas attacking a family of sperm whales (watch above). The video is from Blue Sphere Media, a production company with the tagline: “We fuse dramatic imagery with intimate and thought-provoking stories,…

Free Ride: The Case Against Whale and Dolphin Shows

  “We gotta do better, it’s time to begin. 
You know all the answers must come from within…. Come on and take a free ride….” From where I write, on the coast of California, I can look out and see dolphins swim gracefully through forests of ocean kelp. But I know that on the other…

Killer Whale Moms and Menopause

Despite their fearsome moniker, it turns out that male killer whales are mama’s boys who have a hard time surviving on their own. Scientists think that’s one of the reasons the female of the species go through an unusually long menopause.

Frontiers of Exploration

More highlights from the 2009 Explorers Symposium: NGS/Waitt Grant recipient Albert Lin described the source of his passion for exploration and culture, spending “every penny I had” exploring the world’s cultural heritage, and his new commitment to protect a region in Mongolia that has been held sacred for eight centuries. Committee for Research and Exploration…