Orcas are highly intelligent and social animals, traveling in groups called pods. Their fierce predatory style won them the nickname of “killer whale” in spite of the fact that orcas, both in the wild and in captivity, show incredible curiosity, awareness and gentleness toward people. Orcas have no natural predators except for humans.

Whaling, aquarium capture, pollution and the reduction of food supply have taken a toll on the endangered, Salmon-eating Southern Resident Killer Whales in particular. These species of orca whales mostly feed on Chinook-species salmon and have struggled due to a lack of sufficient food supply in the Salish Sea. Meanwhile, other species of orca whales such as the Mammal-eating “Biggs” killer whales are thriving in population. Although orcas are found in all oceans and most seas they prefer colder waters and are more predominant in the Pacific Basin.