Scientific Name- Orcinus orca

By: Nathan APES 2nd period

Common name- Killer whale or Orca

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Species: Whale or Dolphin
Kingdom: Animalia
Class: Mammalia
Order: Cetacea
Family: Delphinidae

Description

What does a killer whale look like?

Killer Whales are easily spotted with their unique marks. Their backs are black, their chest is white along with its sides, then there is a big white spot just behind and above the eye. When Killer Whales are first born they have yellowish or orange tint, but it fades as the whale matures. Killer Whale's bodies are husky and thick, with a tall dorsal fin, and the fluke has a dark grey color called the "saddle patch". Males can get very big, up to 9.5 m long (31 ft) and weighing over 6 tonnes. Females are smaller, still very big compared to a human, while growing up to 8.4 m (28 ft) and weighing in at 5 tonnes.

What do Killer Whales eat?

Killer Whales will eat just about anything they can. They are a top predator in the ocean and don't have any natural predators. They will eat fish, large krill eating whales, dophins, sea, squid, and even sharks. Their favorite food however is the tounge of a Blue Whale.
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Habitat:

Killer Whales can be found just about anywhere in the World's Oceans, but they are often spotted off the western coast of the United States, Canada, into Alaska. Killer Whales have been spotted in tropical water like Hawaii and Australia, and in colder water like Alaska and the Antartic. Although seen in the open ocean Killer Whales are mostly often spotted in the coastal waters. Killer Whales travel thousands of miles of ocean to hunt swimming around the world many times during their lifetime. Knowing that Killer Whales are found in a varity of habitats you would think that this animal would be able to adapt the changing world, but humans have made such an impact on the killer whales hunting grounds that they have been placed in the endangered species list. One unique behavior of killer whales are to hunt in large groups called pods, in this pods they can take down large prey like large krill eating whales. This way the whales get a good meal and they don't have to use as much energy, because they are working in a group, After a large take down these whale can go for weeks without eating again.

Killer Whale Senses

Killer Whales have very good sight in and out of water, but they don't always use thier sight to know whats aroung them. They also use a sonar system called ecolocation. When the Killer Whales use ecolocation they producing clicks that travel outward from the whale. When the sound waves hit something it bounces back to Whale, and based on how long it takes the eco to come back, and where it came from it can determine the location of threats and prey from miles, and miles away. They can use this special adaptation to make a quick escape, or the use the element of suprise and make a quick and easy kill that won't cause they much energy or risk or injury. Killer Whales most used sense is hearing, Killer Whales hearing greatly exceeds the hearing range of humans.

Why are Killer Whales Endangered?

Killer Whales are unique whales because they are at the top of the food chain and have no natural predators. So you would think that this animal wouldn't have a problem survive, but pollution in the ocean have killed many of these creatures also they are hit by large cursiers and get tangled in fishing nets when hunting for food. Also since these animals eat other animals fishers will see it as a threat to their business and will go after the whale because it got some of the fishers catch. Also these whales have disirable resources like their fat or blubber can be used for oil. So this animal has

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been hunted by poachers. Starvation has been a problem for some of the killer whales some of them have been able to adapt to humans demands for fish that they also need to live, but some haven't been able to adapt causing the numbers of this animal to decrease. Also in some pods some of the younger members of the pod have starved because the pod hasn't been able to take down a big predator and the inexperince of the whale has caused it not hunt very well.

What is being done to save Killer Whales?

The Endangered Secies act bans the hunting of whales, but as always there are still people who insist on hunting them. Also the act regulates the nets which can be used by fishers this way killer whales can have an easier time escaping if they get caught in a fishing net. It is hard to do much to protect the Killer Whale since it travels so far and wide and we don't have an efficient way to track them and their where abouts. Also in the 1990's there was a huge oil spill by the Exxon in the Alaskan area where a lot of the Killer Whales travel through so a lot of whales were killed not because they got caught in the oil, but because they ate the seals, squid and fish that had high concentration of oil in their bodies which got into the whales body in so killing them. Also the Ocean Dumping Act helps the Killer whales by trying to decrease the amount of

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Sources
Species Profile for Killer Whale (Orcinus orca)
Killer Whales Endangered
Why are Killer Whales Endangered?
KILLER WHALES- Habitat & Distribution
KILLER WHALES - Research and Conservation