Orca seen for the first time adopting a pilot whale calf

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Saedís, an orca, with a long-finned pilot whale calf by her side


A long-finned pilot whale calf has been documented swimming behind the fin of a female killer whale – in “echelon”, or mother and calf position – for the first time. How the cross-species pair formed is unknown, leading researchers to wonder if the cub was adopted or abducted.

In August 2021, a whale-watching excursion near the Snaefellsnes peninsula in western Iceland spotted a pod of three killer whales with a surprise guest. Marie-Therese Mrusczok researching the nature of West Iceland…

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