“This morning we received a report from divers who observed a whale off the coast of Shavei Tzion, a communal moshav in northern Israel, located between Acre and Nahariya,” the Israel Nature and Parks Authority reported Friday. “Authority inspectors this morning spotted the whale off the coast of Ancient Acre, 1.4 miles offshore, where the water is 15 meter deep.”
We went to Wikipedia so you won’t have to: the killer whale, a.k.a. Orca (Orcinus orca), is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. Killer whales have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey.
Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals and other species of dolphin. They have been known to attack baleen whale calves, and even adult whales.
Killer whales are apex predators, as no animal preys on them. A cosmopolitan species, they can be found in each of the world’s oceans in a variety of marine environments, from Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas, absent only from the Baltic and Black seas, and some areas of the Arctic Ocean.
Killer whales are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups (pods) which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviors, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of animal culture.
Wild killer whales are not considered a threat to humans, but there have been cases of captive orcas killing or injuring their handlers at marine theme parks. Killer whales feature strongly in the mythologies of indigenous cultures, with their reputation ranging from being the souls of humans to merciless killers.