Folks on the ferry to Tsawwassen got a pretty wild show last week. Valiant the humpback fought off a group of 9 Bigg’s killer whales right in the path of the boat.
Bigg’s have been hanging out in the Salish Sea a lot lately. And humpbacks and orcas don’t get along.
In fact, humpbacks are known to get in the way when orcas are trying to hunt other animals. Humpbacks are the only kind of baleen whales that can defend against an orca attack.
So it was quite the sight when the orcas ganged up on Valiant. You can check out the video on the Pacific Whale Watching Association’s Instagram.
It’s not the first time Valiant has gotten into a scrap with orcas. When the whale was only 2, it chased off a group of Bigg’s in the Juan de Fuca Strait.
Last summer, T125A, a large Bigg’s male, tried to push Valiant around in the middle of a few younger orcas. But the little humpback went on the offensive and chased them off, too.
Transient orcas are known to harass humpbacks, especially when the humpbacks are younger. The humpbacks don’t have any teeth, so they can’t bite to attack.
But they have powerful tails and big bodies. The barnacles that attach themselves to humpback fins are sharp and can do a lot of damage.
The scars on Valiant’s tail tell stories of other attacks that we might not know about. But Valiant has always fought them off.
We don’t know if Valiant is a boy or a girl. But we know Valiant is a badass.