The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, while monitoring the activities of a poaching vessel in the South Indian Ocean, has captured unprecedented footage of an entire pod of rare "Ecotype D" orca whales.
As reported in Discovery News, the 13-whale pod swam alongside the ship, named the Bob Barker, for more than an hour. The conservation group says the Type D orca whales were confirmed by expert Robert L. Pitman, of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who added that, "I don't think they have ever been filmed alive."
Discovery News explains the difference between Type A and D orcas:
Type A orcas are the kind most of us are used to picturing — enormous, black and white, with white eye patches; type B are a bit smaller, and more gray on their darker portions than black; and type C is the smallest orca, also more grayish than black, with white eye patches slanted at an angle to the body.
Type D orcas were originally identified in 1955, when a pod of them stranded on New Zealand's Paraparaumu Beach. The animal has rarely been seen since, let alone filmed. They have bulbous foreheads resembling those on pilot whales, and they have small white eye patches and a dorsal fin that's shorter than usual.
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