Scientists see the last moments of a whale's life for the first time: killer whales spend an hour resuscitating old Hunchy
The ocean is home to many creatures. Killer whales are one of the most studied and interesting - scientists know that they are extremely intelligent and social, learn quickly and hone their hunting skills. This time, for the first time, scientists managed to record the last minutes of a 35-year-old male whale's life, which is dying of old age but desperately trying to survive.
In early November, whale watchers spotted a killer whale behaving strangely in the waters north of Lopla Island in Norway. According to researcher Pierre Robert de Latour, he and his colleagues immediately recognized the male - it was Hunchy, known for his hunched back. This was reported by livescience.com.
The researchers watched as two young killer whales tried to keep Hunchy on the surface for about 50 minutes so that he could breathe. Orcas cannot stay underwater without air for more than 15 minutes. In their normal life, they come to the surface to breathe every minute, and during the journey this interval increases to 35 minutes.
Probably, Hunchy was exhausted and could not keep afloat on his own, and therefore the young killer whales tried to push him out. According to de Latour, the attempts to keep the killer whale afloat seemed "desperate," and the scientists immediately realized that the animal was in trouble.
Later, the researcher dived into the water and swam closer to the killer whales to assess the situation. He noticed that the male looked thin, and his stomach was sunken in - as if he hadn't eaten anything for a long time.
The researchers note that this is the first time they have ever seen something like this - they recorded the last moments of a marine giant's life.
According to Philip Samarr, a research specialist at the University of Iceland and founder of the Icelandic Orca Project, this is probably the first such case in the North Atlantic, and possibly in the world.
At the same time, Robert de Latour notes that one cannot be 100% sure that these were the last moments of Hunchy's life. The second research boat arrived at the site a few hours later and the same dramatic picture unfolded before the scientists - young killer whales were trying to keep the old male afloat. However, according to scientists, it is highly likely that Hunchey is still dead.