Tourists in B.C. got to witness quite the spectacle this week. On Monday, August 17, a whale-watching tour company shared photos of a wild scene near the coast in Victoria. From the photos provided, it appears they caught a B.C. orca fully punting a seal right out of the water, sending it flying.
Five Star Whale Watching posted two photos and a brief caption. "Warning ⚠️ Graphic Content! Yesterday we witnessed some breathtaking action during our encounter with the T10’s!"
T10 refers to the family of whales that this killer orca belongs to. The post then went on to add further details on what occurred.
"This included them punting a hapless Seal clear in the air, it was an unbelievable sight and showed the power and skill of these apex predators," the post concluded.
"#welikeourwhaleswild" was one of the hashtags that followed the caption.
According to CTV News, the sighting happened around 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, August 16.
Alexa Desautels, a naturalist for the whale-watching company, told the news outlet that though such hunts happen quite frequently, the way in which it took place on Sunday afternoon was super uncommon.
According to Desautels, "most of the hunting and the leading up to the kill" occurs underwater.
As it turns out, the orca just "punting" the seal in the air could have taken place for a number of reasons.
Desautels said that though the whale is seen as an adult, it's still a "young bull." That's perhaps why it wanted to show off its strength to the rest of the members in its pod, she said.
It seems like gaining approval from the family is a thing even in the marine world.
According to Newsweek, killer whales may also toss seals high up in the air to loosen up their skin, which they don't eat.
Whereas sometimes they just do it "for fun," said Kristin Westdal of the Pew Charitable Trusts' Oceans North Canada.
The "flipping" technique is learned through family groups, especially when mothers are teaching their young ones how to hunt, said Newsweek.
Quite a few unique whale sightings have happened around the B.C. coast in recent months. A rare transient white whale was found happily swimming off the coast near Vancouver Island back in mid-July.
Another pod of orcas were seen swimming up really close to kayakers near Whitecliffe Park, B.C.