Selected images from the spectacular killer whale hunt in Monterey Bay on April 24, 2021. Three pods of orcas converged on a pair of migrating gray whales to make the kill.
Many if not most mammals hunt at night, or are so elusive that they may as well be night creatures. In many ways, we are sheltered from the violence of life. This sunny day, 9am killer whale feeding event is a rare look at the inherent hostility of the food chain.
Killer whales, the apex predators of the sea, use basic Newtonian physics (f=m(a)) and pack tactics to feed the family. They use their bodies as projectile weapons over a couple of hours to subdue and kill their gray whale prey. We all feel empathy for the gray whales, but without the food chain, there is no animal life.
Seen here are a few direct body strikes, a couple of attempts to cut off breath, the gray whale mother fighting back with her massive tail and an orca calf alongside, learning the ropes from its elders. Plus, some portraits of orcas in high-energy mode.