Killer whales made headlines this week in Southern California after dramatic showings--and some very close vessel approaches--off the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Sunday and off Dana Point on Monday. The sightings involved four members of the same transient family group, which preyed on dolphins and at least one sea lion, while acting much friendlier toward their human admirers.
But on Monday in Puget Sound off Vashon Island, a much larger show played out, involving a large pod of endangered Southern Resident killer whales, or orcas. Perhaps as many as 40 individuals wowed onlookers with an incredible display that included cartwheels, breaches, tail-slaps and other behavior that few people are fortunate to witness in a wild environment. (These are salmon-eaters, while transients prey on marine mammals.)
Meg McDonald, who uploaded the video, was hardly subtle in pointing this out, using her footage to launch an attack, in the video's description area, on SeaWorld and its captive orca program.
That's her prerogative. But the footage pretty much speaks for itself. Killer whales do not need trainers to perform. They do it every day, on their own inspiration, without barriers. And thankfully, in this age where just about everyone carries a video camera or a phone with video capabilities, more episodes like this are available to the public.