Trophic Cascade of the Bremer Bay Orca was in perfect display today as we observed many species and the affect each had on each other and the importance of the apex predator, Orca.
A trophic level is used to describe a species and their place in the food chain, from the tiniest of creatures in Trophic Level 1 right up to apex predators in Trophic Level 5. Every creature has their role in the ecosystem that they occupy and many creatures are heavily dependant on the success of Orca to ensure the success of their own kind. Should there be a detrimental affect to any of the Trophic Levels either natural or by human interference, the Trophic Cascade will be altered.
Observing and not influencing behaviour when cetacean watching is vital to ensure the continued success of the Trophic Cascade. Likewise today we witnessed other supposed professional whale watching crews harass and chase down Orca in this very sensitive environment. When outside influences come into any environment an element of respect for the cetacean is not only expected but demanded and as the harassment continued we departed the area slowly only to have El Notcho’s pod, whom was the target of the harassment, follow us at a very gentle pace and sought out the calm energy of our vessel as we departed east together and acted as part of the family pod.
Once the departure of the other vessels was achieved, the Orca relaxed and continued fishing around us collecting numerous kills of smaller squid and showing their prize to us as oil slicks gathered on the waters surface along with arguing Shearwaters and Black-Browed Albatross’s.
There should always be respect to the Orca first and foremost as at all times, we are still an influence through sound and this uneducated type of chasing instead of observing will influence future whale watching operators that come into the area, this type of behaviour will be detrimental to what we believe is one of the true wonders of the marine world and a powerful Trophic Cascade.
It is a privilege to do what we do on a daily basis, we hope others take note and show the respect these wonderful animals offer thousands of happy Whale Watchers each season.