Spotters for the ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project saw five orcas harass and chase a gray whale about a half-mile off the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The ACS-LA volunteers watched the action from the while others observed from nearby boats, including the Redondo Beach-based .
Alisa Schulman-Janiger, who runs the project, told Pete Thomas Outdoors that one adult and four younger killer whales were involved in the confrontation, but the pursuit ended when the gray whale entered the kelp zone. The researcher said the whale was not injured.
Diane Alps, who works as the programs coordinator for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium in San Pedro, wrote on Facebook that after the orcas moved on from harassing the gray whales, the group killed a sea lion and joined up with five other orcas.
“[An] adult gray whale is a pretty tough battle for killer whales,” Alps wrote in a comment on her Facebook post. “Usually, they prefer small calves [and] pinnipeds.”
The group, which has been spotted over the past week in Southern California, were seen in El Segundo later Wednesday.
Orcas, commonly known as “killer whales,” actually belong to the family Delphinidae and are the largest dolphins. The giant mammals can swim up to 30 miles per hour and eat up to 5 percent of their body weight—about 500 pounds, on average—every day