Quietly cruising through a Northern fiord, diving underwater with astonishing grace, or hurtling their bodies skyward in a leaping breach, killer whales have long been admired as one of the most intriguing and mysterious of all animals. This lavishly illustrated portrait of the killer whale, or orca, which inhabits all oceans throughout the world, presents this almost mythical sea mammal in all its mystery and grandeur.
In his poetic yet scientifically precise text, author Peter Knudtson offers visions of orca throughout the ages and across cultures, from the Kwakiutl reverence for and identification with killer whales to scientists' fascination with this intelligent, large-brained counterpart to both humans and wolves on land. Knudtson also describes in vivid detail the savvy, cooperative hunting techniques of killer whales as they race in ever tighter circles around a school of herring; the dramatic birth of a calf as it shoots from its mother's body like a torpedo; and the emerging evidence about the whales' exquisitely refined sonar and communication abilities. This compelling portrait concludes with a discussion of the ethics of orca captivity, environmental threats to wild populations, and a reassessment of orca's place in our world.
Throughout the book, spectacular full-color photographs capture the whales spy hopping, breaching, hunting for seals and salmon, and caring for their young. Photographs of the whales' habitat in various parts of the world are also included. The result is a shimmering vision of the magnificent, majestic orca.