Stunning footage shows ‘way of the orca’ while hunting dolphins

A Southern California photographer has captured graphic but extraordinary footage revealing how transient orcas stun prey before participating in a group feast.

In describing the accompanying video, Ryan Lawler of Pacific Offshore Expeditions wrote:

“Orcas rarely use their teeth to kill prey. Most of the time a combination of body-slamming, head-butting and slaps from the tail are used to inflict blunt force trauma. While this is no doubt a sad video in some respects, this is the way of the Orca. One dolphin fed the entire pod of five for at least one whole day.”

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The orcas, or killer whales, were encountered Christmas Day near Anacapa Island off Ventura County.

The mammals were active and the top image, courtesy of Mark Girardeau, shows the pod’s matriarch leaping “Free Willy style” in pursuit of the dolphin. The matriarch, catalogued as CA140B and nicknamed Louise, was identified by Alisa Schulman-Janiger of the California Killer Whale Project.

Transient orcas are occasional visitors to Southern California and their hunting forays often involve common dolphins.

Story originally appeared on For The Win