Nature can be brutal. Nothing is ever truly safe out in the wild. Take these humpback whale calves for instance. One minute they’re swimming around, minding their own business, and the next they’re suddenly dinner for a pod of eight hungry orcas.
At least it was over quick, right? Wrong. The hunting party lasted the better part of five hours.
Prue Wheeler, who captured photos during the feeding, was on board the Coral Bay Eco Tour boat with her husband (he was the skipper) when they witnessed the incredible action. This particular outing was a test run for a new swimming tour involving humpback whales in Western Australia before the season starts.
The killer whales initial attempts at taking a calf were thwarted by the mother, but they eventually achieved success by switching up their plan of attack.
“It was pretty intense – the noises and also knowing the mother humpback, had made such a long journey,” Prue Wheeler said.
Humpback whales make a five-month journey from southern waters to give birth further north. This whale in particular will be returning without a calf. Prue says it’s “quite distressing.”
“But orcas are just part of the chain. It was an amazing display of nature…it’s really just humans that mess with things.”
Wheeler went on to assure swimmers that swimming with humpbacks is completely safe.
“There has never been a recorded instance of a fatal attack on a person by an orca, other than in captivity,” Mrs Wheeler said.
Still, when they’re this vicious AND people are in close proximity, I wouldn’t want to push my luck.