Research of the Bremer Bay Orca continues everyday as we learn more about the population and their daily activities. Today we were concerned to see one of our much loved females named Wobbles bearing a fresh new wound to her left eye and eye patch. The injury is healing and looking at the image we can see that the cause of the wound is likely to have been caused by another Orca. The family pods of the Bremer Bay Orca population get on very well and have not been observed fighting or scuffling previously, but it is a big population with between 200 to 300 individuals. The family have been out of the area for a while and may have ventured to other Orca foraging grounds which could have led to an interaction with another family pod they don’t have as familiar a relationship with. Dominant or aggressive behaviour may have been the result over food or mating opportunities which are both very important factors in any Orca population.
The most important aspect to observe is the location of the wound which is a direct attack towards the eye of Wobbles. It was a serious altercation and indicates whoever inflicted the injury was meaning business and not mucking around, that individual was wanting to target the important and vulnerable eye area. Currently there does look to be some damage to the eye and we hope that it is only superficial and will heal quickly. The scarring you can see will heal well in time to come but damage to the eye of Wobbles could have lifelong affects for her. Vision is used by mammal hunting Orca to read each others body language frequently during foraging, tracking and hunting to avoid noisy vocalisations giving away their location. Thankfully she will always have her pod looking out for her but will need to adapt should she have lost vision in that eye.
Observing these families on a regular basis allows research of the Bremer Bay Orca to continue onboard each tour as today provided an opportunity of documenting this injury to Wobbles and now we can track her progress going forward. Our hope is that the eye itself has not been damaged to a point where she has lost vision and with some time that it might heal. The rest of the family were relaxed today and enjoyed a fair bit of time resting just off our bow as they hardly moved from the area they had settled in for the morning. The afternoon rolled round and after their refreshing siesta all were ready to get back into foraging again as they moved back towards the west and we wished them well for their evening ahead. We will keep you updated with Wobbles and her injury, hopefully a speedy recovery for her and good to have her back home in The Patch to rest for a while.