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Whale Reports | Whale Report 4

Orcas off Labrador Recorded for the First Time

Author David Snow, Wildland Tours

On September 8, 2005 a Wildland Tours' Northern Whale Study group encountered a pod of seven orcas north of Battle Harbour on the Labrador coast. A hydrophone was lowered and we believe these recordings represent the first ever recording of Newfoundland and Labrador orcas. Click below to hear the most vocal portions of what was approximately 25 minutes of underwater recording.

Audio Vocalizations (WAV)

The end of this audio file was recorded as the seven orcas approached a group of three humpbacks. The humpbacks trumpeted and after being surrounded for approximately 30 seconds the water turned white with the frothing caused by the rapid movements of the orcas and humpbacks. The study group stayed a kilometer away until the encounter ended. They found no evidence of actual contact between the two whale species and the orcas left the area immediately after the encounter and were not seen again. The humpbacks all appeared uninjured. The hydrophone picked up the trumpeting of the humpbacks and the squeals and clicks of the orcas prior to and during this encounter. The humpback trumpeting was much more audible above the surface. This Atlantic Whales site contains numerous photos demonstrating that orcas do bite humpbacks although we did not see any actual physical contact during this dramatic event.

Dave Snow has written numerous articles and special publications on seabirds, whales, and marine ecology. Wildland Tours promotes and coordinates the Newfoundland and Labrador portion of the world-wide humpback whale census. This population has been found to be the planet's largest feeding gathering of humpbacks. The study of whale numbers provides important insights into oceanic health.


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