Killer whale

Orcinus orca

Killer whales, also known as the Orca.  It’s named Killer whale because it’s a top predator, which some populations feed on other marine mammals, and no other animal preys on them.  It’s not known what the killer whale’s seen in Tristan’s MPZ feed on.

Killer Whale © Rohan Holt
Killer Whale © Rohan Holt

Although the Orca carry’s the name whale because of its large size - it is in the dolphin family. They are one of the worlds most recognized animals due to its distinctive black and white coloured pattern. Orcas continually search for food, so their movement patterns are totally different from other species, with them travelling to areas where their food supply is abundant. For these mammals they don’t have any precise times for mating and reproduction, it can happen at any time throughout the year. When it comes to giving birth, the calf is born tail first to prevent the risk of drowning. These mammals stay in female led (matriarchal) family pods due to the fact if a pod makes a successful kill it’ll share it with family and friends or if a pod member is in distress they will help out. Although not seen very often around Tristan a sighting occurred at Sandy Point of an Orca calf stranded on the beach, it is believed to have been separated from its pod.

IUCN Status – Data deficient

Length – Up to 9m

Weight – Up to 4 tons

Reproduction – Every 4-5 years

Sightings around Tristan islands – Killer whales are occasionally seen around Tristan da Cunha