The Tender Wolves of the Ocean

October 25, 2013  |  By Ishwarya, Fatima College, Madurai, India

The Tender Wolves of the Ocean

Photo : Andrew Brigmond/ sxc.hu

Wolves are best known for moving and hunting in packs. We just look at their ferocity but very rarely admire their grandeur and majestic outlook. If real wolves were that beautiful then what could be said about the similes of them living in the big blue? The similes that are depicted here are the killer whales, or as scientists call them – Orcas. The words killer whale may conjure up an image of something huge with a bad attitude, ready to take a bite out of any kind of flesh. But that’s not the actual picture one should carry in their minds about these wonderful creatures that grace the ocean.

What is an Orca?

An orca is a sea mammal, one of the members of the dolphin family. Just like any other mammal, it requires oxygen for respiration and is warm blooded. Its body is a huge bulk, but shaped exquisitely with smooth curves. With skin as soft as silk, it is black in colour with a white underside and a white patch just behind the eye. The animal has paddle shaped flippers to balance while swimming, a broad tail to thrust powerful strokes and a triangular dorsal fin for support. It is this feature that can help us distinguish a male whale from a female one. Males have straight and tall triangle shaped ones while the females have shorter ones with a curve at the tapering end.

An Orca’s intimacy

Killer whales always travel in packs; the probability for an orca to live alone is very rare. They swim in pods and protect their calves together. Intimacy and affection is acquired by the process of touching with the noses or with the fins, squeaks and calls, playing, teaming up to corner a prey that is large and giving assistance to any sick member of the group. We may wonder as to how creatures with only five senses can be united with thick bonds but, in reality, we can learn a lot from orcas. They care deeply for their young and other pod members and will make sure they remain healthy and strong to keep moving on. The affection doesn’t stop within them.

Yes, orcas have extended their love to human beings!

No discrepancy ever evolves when they look deep into a man or a woman. We may have ill feelings towards certain people but these creatures are way beyond hatred and hostility. Each individual who gets close to them will appear special in one way or the other. People who train orcas have been widely known to develop a strong bond between themselves and the Orcas.

There has been one incident in Hawaii where a researcher went sailing regularly to keep an eye on a certain pod of orcas. One particular orca got interested in him and followed him closely. Every time the man went to see the pod, this particular member swam up to him. A friendship bloomed between them and the researcher started to play with the animal once he was sure it won’t harm him. Another incident tells us that a pair of orcas jumped in the bow waves created by a boat, in which a couple was taking a sail for fun. They were dumb struck by these huge creatures that started swimming joyfully along with them and they announced it was one unforgettable memory.

Let’s reciprocate!

When we come to know the gentle and friendly nature of these sea mammals, it is only fair we return the love they have for us. According to me, I think orcas have a sixth sense too, but in a different way. It is our job to conserve them. Orcas are a beautiful creation of nature and we can never afford to develop any hatred for them. Look more into their hearts and admire just how splendid and glorious they are as they swim in the ocean, ride bow waves, entertain people and happily play around in the sea.

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