Happy World Orca Day!

July 14 is World Orca Day! A group of leading international researchers, filmmakers and former Sea World trainers have gathered in San Juan Islands in Washington to celebrate orcas – also known as killer whales – in their natural habitat.

The event is in its third year and is hosted by The Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC), a global marine organization. Experts in the field come together to share their conservation efforts and experiences to help these intelligent mammals.

Two of the event presenters are killer whale researcher Ken Balcomb and former SeaWorld trainer Dr. John Jett. Both were featured in the award-winning documentary Blackfish, which brought the issue of ending whale and dolphin captivity to the public’s eye.

WDC captivity lead Cathy Williamson says:

“The public understands that captivity is cruel and unnecessary. We now live in a world where people can see these majestic creatures in their natural habitat and realize that an isolated concrete cell is no substitute for an ocean home.”

So how will you celebrate World Orca Day?

Featured image: Pavel Lunkin / CC BY 2.0

5 Fun Facts about Orcas for World Orca Day

5 quick and fun facts to know about orcas – or killer whales – on World Orca Day:

  1. Orcas are found in all oceans around the world.

  3. They are extremely social mammals that live in pods, usually with the same family members their entire lives. Pods can range from 5 to 10 members and can even merge to become super pods with as many as 100 whales.

  5. You can determine a killer whale’s sex by their dorsal fin: males’ or bulls’ fins are not curved and can grow up to 6 feet in height, while females’ or cows’ fins are shorter and curved.

  7. Orcas have a fatty layer of blubber under the skin that acts like fur and insulation to keep warm and can also be converted for energy when food is scarce.

  9. Wild orcas are not considered a threat to people.

Featured image: Christopher Michel / CC BY 2.0