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article imageVideo footage of orca flipping seal 80 feet in air

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 26, 2015 in Science
If you are the seal in this video footage then you're not gonna be enjoying the moment. But for us humans seeing a whale flip a seal up, up, up and 80 feet into the air, well, it's a pretty awesome sight.
Whale flips seal
An orca from a transient killer whale pod flipped the seal off the coast of Victoria on Vancouver Island on Sunday, October 25. Flipping the seal into the air with its tail sounds like fun but it wasn't done simply for enjoyment.
No, the dexterous orca in the footage, known as T69C, wasn't playing with the seal. That would have been nice but no, it was preparing the seal to be a meal. Seal is a staple food for transient orcas and when this seal landed back into the water it would have been stunned and was thereafter likely gobbled up by T69C.
Mike Walker of Roll Focus Productions was busy shooting a promotional film for a whale-watching company called Eagle Wing Tours when he got extra lucky and captured the flip on film. He and his associate can be heard enthusiastically describing what they are seeing.
At one point one of them notes that the whale threw the seal "80 feet up in the air." Walker told media that orcas flipping seals is not often seen but it is one of the ways they hunt.
"We do a ton of whale watching, but this is fairly rare," Walker told the media. "Brett Soberg, owner of Eagle Wing, mentioned to us that it’s only the fourth time he’s seen an orca do that in about 20 years. It was spectacular. You can hear me yelling ‘Yes!’ over and over in the video."
Seal escapes whales
Now lest you think killer whales, like the Canadian Mounties, always get their man, or seal, we bring you the story of a seal that escaped hungry orcas, and in a rather resourceful manner, to say the least.
This took place last August in beautiful Desolation Sound at the north end of B.C.'s Sunshine Coast. Two transient pods of orcas were in the sound looking for lunch. The whales spotted a lone harbour seal and went in for the kill. How did the seal escape?
It spotted a boat and actually jumped into it. But there was a man fishing in the boat and, seemingly startled, witnesses said he gunned the motor, sending the hapless little fellow back into the ocean. But, incredibly, the seal then swam over to a dinghy that Michelle and Ryan Wigmore were towing behind their yacht.
The Wigmores had been watching the whales hunt and saw the harbour seal get turfed by the fisherman. Now they witnessed it swim to their dinghy and jump in. The seal stayed there for a considerable amount of time until the whales left the area.
The video of the seal being flipped into the air, incidentally, has gone viral on Youtube and Facebook.
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