On July 3, 2013, a group of seven orcas were stranded on a beach in Queensland. Sadly, two of the group passed away before they were found. However, thanks to diligent rescue efforts, the remaining five were able to return to the ocean.
Of the five survivors, one was an orca calf who researchers dubbed EA_0046A. After being returned to the water, the surviving orcas were able to rejoin their pod. The pod remained in the area mourning their lost members before eventually moving on.
Recently, EA_0046A was again spotted. Multiple sightings in New South Wales determined that rescuers’ efforts paid off. The once-stranded orca calf appears to be doing well and is now nearing maturity. Thanks to the efforts of rescuers, EA_0046A was able to live to become the next generation in their family group.
Strandings such as the one EA_0046A was a part of are relatively rare in Queensland. Orcas are intelligent animals who do not typically swim into shallow water. Researchers believe that this group may have become stranded chasing some type of prey.
Orcas, also known as killer whales, are highly social, smart creatures. The largest members of the dolphin family, they typically live in complex family groups. These groups use a series of distinctive noises to communicate and hunt.
While it is very difficult to study orcas in the wild, they face many threats and are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Several subgroups of orcas are listed as endangered.
Orcas are largely threatened by human activity. Climate change, ocean Pollution, and hunting and capture all pose significant threats to the well-being of orca populations.
Orcas have also long been held in captivity at zoos and marine parks worldwide. There, they are kept in unnatural conditions. Some orcas are even kept without companions.
This is extremely detrimental to their well-being as orcas are highly social creatures. Additionally, orcas are often kept in too-small enclosures and made to perform in shows.
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This article by Willow Lynn was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 17 July 2023.
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