Humpbacks Try To Fight Off Killer Whales In Mass Feeding Frenzy In California

First Posted: May 04, 2017 06:10 AM EDT

Humpback whales are trying to stop the feeding frenzy that has been going on in Monterey Bay. A pod of killer whales have killed seven humpbacks in 12 days, in what is apparently an unprecedented string of attacks.

According to the San Francisco Gate, killer whales have been attacking gray whales, which have been migrating through the Monterey Bay from Mexico, on their way to Alaska. The back-to-back killings have drawn attention to the whale killings. However, the involvement of the humpbacks came largely unnoticed until now.

Marine biologist Nancy Black explained that humpback whales arrived at Monterey Bay earlier than usual this year. In fact, there are already about 60 to 70 whales in the area. Unfortunately, for the humpbacks, their early arrival meant that they are in the middle of the killer whales' hunting season. Unlike other animals that leave orcas to their own, these massive creatures tend to interfere for some reason, in what Black suggested is their way to protect the prey.

In recent weeks, the humpbacks have charged over the killing sites in an attempt to deter the killer whales from hunting or feeding. This comes with their long history of interfering with orcas' hunting habits, although researchers are not sure why they seem to do so. The humpbacks have not been successful in preventing a killer whale attack so far in the past few weeks.

According to Monterey Herald, Black said that killer whales only usually come in and out of an area for their feeding, but it is not supposed to be an everyday occurrence. However, these days, it seemed that they started hanging around and waiting for more whales to pass through.

No matter the reason for the feeding frenzy, the heightened activity became an amazing whale watching event for those in Monterey Bay. Black shared that such massive feeding has not happened in 30 years. However, she added, "Just to witness that out in nature when you usually see that kind of thing on television is really spectacular."

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