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A Rare Spectacle: Orcas Gang Up On Baby Gray Whale, Feast On Its Tender Flesh

Photo by Davey's Locker via Facebook
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Gray whales are migrating up north from the warm waters of Baja California where they breed around this time of the year, but on the way they face a dangerous predator: transient orcas.

On Wednesday afternoon, a pod of these orcas managed to separate a newborn gray whale from its mother, drown it and then eat it, The Daily Breeze reports. It turns out orcas love to feast on the tender flesh of the baby's tongue and throat, but usually it happens near Monterey Bay not Southern California.

There was a whale-watching boat that made it out to the scene just a half mile off the coast of Palos Verdes. We couldn't find any video (so far) even though witnesses could see it from the coast. Here's the play-by-play by Bernardo Alps, a photojournalist and Cabrillo Marine Aquarium researcher, who witnessed the brutal scene:

"The orcas kept jumping on top of the gray whales and ramming them. The calf got knocked clear out of the water a few times. The mom was really thrashing around, you could see her tail flukes thrashing at the orcas."
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There were about a dozen orcas altogether collaborating on the attack (although one of them got distracted by some birds in the middle of the kill). The mama gray whale tried to fend them off but not before her calf was stunned by the attack and struggling to breathe. The orcas had killed her baby within a half hour. The orcas celebrated by jumping and playing near the carcass in between bites.The mother gray whale swam back into shallow waters near the coast for safety away from the orcas.