Home » They register a baby orca in Península Valdés, the granddaughter of a large one “and she is not a murderer”

They register a baby orca in Península Valdés, the granddaughter of a large one “and she is not a murderer”

by drbyos

The black and white princess of the sea swims with her mother and from the coast some are filled with tenderness and take photos of them. Surely Maga, the grandmother and great matriarch of Península Valdés will be proud of her. In a short time, she will be able to teach him to perform the intentional stranding, that spectacular hunting technique that her families developed and made them famous throughout the world.

“We have a new orca from Maga’s group. A great matriarch who must be in her 50s and has several offspring. The eldest is Velen, who has just had her fourth calf and was photographed by the Punta Norte wildlife rangers,” she says to cStart María Leoní Gaffet of Península Valdés Orca Research (PVOR).

The woman speaks of this birth with a passion that moves. She explains that the mortality of orca calves in the world is very high for different reasons, which are not well understood. For this reason, they will now be attentive to follow up. It is not often to see them born, because like all the great predators in the world they do not have many young, and they are.

Incredible photograph by Carlos Canero in Caleta Valdés on June 12, when the groups of Llen and Valen (8 orcas) were seen. «Carlos tells us that he saw them jump repeatedly. Despite the distance, we can also see Valen’s new calf having fun despite its very short age of 1 to 2 months.

“Okay, her mom, she’s separated from the main group, that’s why we’ll be attentive to this little girl, when she appears,” says Leoní and begins to assemble Maga’s family tree, which after Mirta Legrand’s, is one of the most famous in the country for carrying out intentional stranding.

Stranding is a hunting technique that consists of deliberately stranding the body on the beach. They come surfing the waves, if there is any surf, or swim underwater and come to the beach at the right time to hunt sea lions or elephant seals.

«Valen is the eldest of Maga’s daughters, followed by Mica who has two children, Shehuén died last year and it is not known why. The youngest is Keokénwhich is missing a part of the tail”, he recounts enthusiastically.

“It’s a very interesting family. Maga is an excellent teacher, that’s why all her juveniles are very trained and when they appear there is a lot of action, not only for the subject of hunting. It is interesting to see them hunt, but for me it is much more to see how they teach the little ones”, she says.

The group is a guarantee of a show, of incredible photos. Those who come from all over the world to see this phenomenon are looking forward to it. Stranding only occurs on these shores and Maga, along with Ishtar, who was the matriarch of the other group and died in 2010, were the architects.

“Maga is successful in breeding, hunting, like all his family. It is a unique technique in the world. There is a group of orcas in the Crozet Islands, which belong to France, near Antarctica, where the orcas do something similar, but it is not the same. Also here you can see them, from the public viewpoints and it is spectacular to do it” highlights Leoní.

life by the sea

Two women are in charge of Península Valdés Orca Research (PVOR), Leoní Gaffet and Gretchen Freundes, who are directors and founders of the project. The scientific director is biologist Valeria Vergara, who lives in Canada.

Leoní and Gretchen have had photos of these orcas since 1999. Gretchen is American and in those years she began to come here with a photographer’s permit. Leoní worked in tourism in the province and one of her tasks was to supervise the photographers. They met, and from there they went to Punta Norte together every year.

Then PVOR was created and they began to do it in an organized way. The project is non-profit and conducts long-term, non-invasive research. They base their study on high-quality photo-identification, behavior observation and population monitoring.

Leoní tells in detail the death of Shehuén last year. She relates that in general they do not see them die, it is understood that they die when they disappear, but they saw this one die, they did not know why and she relates that she cried for five days when she passed. There is sorrow in her voice, as if she were talking about a member of her family. And it is that after so much time following them, without a doubt it was.

Carlos Canero was in Caleta Valdés and was lucky enough to meet 8 orcas. The Llen(PTN-010)(4) and Valen(PTN-009)(4) groups. It’s good to know that Valen’s new calf is doing well.

“In total there are 19 members of a family. We suppose that maybe Maga and Ishtar could have been sisters, but it is only an assumptionwe cannot affirm it”, he says and when they ask him about “the bad reputation of these animals”, defends them.

Many look at orcas out of the corner of their eye, brand them as murderers. For Leoní, not only is it not true, but she repudiates it. He explains that it is a very intelligent animal, with a very complex social structure, they communicate with different languages ​​and dialects in the world, and they are highly evolved.

They are very similar to humans, but they are carnivorous and in the world, that led them to develop amazing hunting techniques. and pass them on from generation to generation. This for some is synonymous with evil, but it is nothing more than survival”.

On the other hand, “they don’t kill humans” stands out, s. They have only attacked in aquariums. But there he separates them from their family, he forces them to act, they swim 200 kilometers a day and there they are in tanks, so they generate neuroses. “They know they are in captivity, that’s why the attacks, but in freedom they don’t.”

Leoní returns to the photo “of the little girl from Valen”, in a few days a few more will arrive in which she can be seen. ANDIt explains that killer whales do not have a pattern, they reproduce at any time of the year. They don’t do it regularly. Maga has 6 or 7 children, but they can only have one in a lifetime. The gestation period is between 16 and 18 months. Many times the young die.

“They are a mystery. Now we hope with all our hearts that it survives, and it would be the 20th. They are wonderful animals, and in Patagonia we are blessed to see them from the coast. By developing this international stranding technique, when the world’s orcas prefer depths, they like the shore, where their main food is,” he explains.

Investigation of Orcas Península Valdés

Península Valdés Orca Research (PVOR) is an international organization based in Península Valdés, Chubut, Argentina. Its mission is to study the orca population that inhabits this protected area through photo-identification, their behavior, and their specialized hunting techniques, unique in the world.

Carlos Canero was in Caleta Valdés and was lucky enough to meet 8 orcas. The Llen(PTN-010)(4) and Valen(PTN-009)(4) groups. It’s good to know that Valen’s new calf is doing well.

“The objective is to gather information about orcas and make them known. Because the more you know, the more you protect yourself. That’s why we invite the boys to name it. And we also want to demystify that they are murderers, they are only carnivores and they have to eat,” he concludes..

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