‘One of the most unusual events I can recall with a killer whale:’ Orca pod preys on gray whale in Puget Sound

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SEATTLE -- A pod of orcas apparently preyed on a gray whale near Whidbey Island Saturday, and experts are calling this an extremely “unusual event.”

Passengers aboard a Puget Sound Express ship saw a family of Bigg’s orcas, also called transient orcas, circling a grey whale and feeding on it.

They say this is an unusual event because orca attacks on gray whales are rare, and crew members say they’ve never seen an attack succeed.

“This, in my opinion, is one of the most unusual events I can recall with a killer whale in 34 years of whale watching in the Salish Sea,” said Puget Sound Express owner Pete Hanke.

Experts also say there are an unusual amount of new gray whales in the Salish Sea and Puget Sound area.

Photographer and naturalist Bart Rulon captured photos of the event and agreed that this attack illustrated bizarre behavior for an orca family.

“This was one of the most unusual encounters I’ve had with our whales in more than two decades of documenting them,” said Rulon.

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