Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Story Behind False Killer Whales


"Truth or consequences"
False killer whales are disappearing from our waters faster than the Hawaiian monk seal
by Christopher Pala Feb 24, 2010

Two decades ago off the Kona coast of the Big Island, Dan McSweeney spotted a pod of 15-foot-long false killer whales jumping high out of the water and doing belly flops, a favorite hunting technique apparently designed to scare or confuse their prey. He sped over in his Boston Whaler and slipped into the water with a small air tank and a camera.

“I went down to 100 feet,” he recalls. “One of the whales racing toward me, he was holding the back half of a big yellowfin that must have weighed 150-pounds. He stopped suddenly about four feet away and released the tuna, which came floating toward me. I figured it was some kind of offering, so I took it. Then he dived under me, made a big circle and came back to the same spot and stared at me. He looked like he wanted it back, so I pushed it over. He took it and went off. I took a picture as he was swimming away with a few of his buddies.”

“It was one of those magical moments you never forget,” adds McSweeney, who has been studying marine mammals for 40 years and heads the Wild Whale Research Foundation in Holualoa...

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