Why Do Orca Dorsal Fins Collapse?

Why do Orca dorsal fins collapse? The perfect design of these apex predators are meant for challenging environments in the marine world where the vast majority of the time they are below the oceans surface. Living in this way enables the dorsal fin to be supported by the ocean around it and also grow in strength as the individual matures from calf, to juvenile and into adulthood. Orca in captivity live a completely different life and find themselves in a foreign environment to what they have been designed for. Limited time below the surface creates less support for the dorsal fin which over time will collapse as the captive Orca find themselves at the surface 70-80% of the time. Thankfully our Bremer Bay Orca population are wild and free, roaming the Southern Ocean as they are meant to and this results in some very healthy, strong dorsal fins.

Today on our arrival in The Patch we were immediately surrounded by surging Orca and shortly after we could see why, Pilot Whales were charging towards them! The Pilots moved past in a hurry as matriarch Queen (aka Split Tip) regrouped the family pod and began moving into deeper water. Queen, Noosa and Alki along with their family members created and enormous FLOT line (forward line of troops) as they began to stalk the outskirts of the hunting grounds. A lot of effort went into todays foraging which did seem to result in some success as we found food scraps and an oil slick left behind on the surface. After such a busy morning, it was now time to relax as the three family pods went into resting mode and we wished them well for their snooze ahead. Swirl and El Notcho were wide awake though as we spent the last of our afternoon moving in a hurry with them as they appeared to chase out another pod from the area… perhaps it was Blackberry again!

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