Special in Spain: Group of curious orcas in an unusual place

by Lorraine Williamson
five curious orcas

VIGO – Five “curious” killer whales have recently been seen in unusual places in northwestern Spain. The orcas generally move in the deeper zones of the Atlantic Ocean behind the Cíes Islands. Now they provided photogenic moments.

The group of five orcas was already spotted last weekend in the ría de Arousa (ría is river mouth). On o Monday they were sighted again, but this time at the mouth of the ría de Vigo. They swam between Estelas in Baiona and the Cíes Islands. 

This has been confirmed to EFE by Bruno Díaz, Director of the Institute for the Study of Bottlenose Dolphins (BDRI) and the Royal Hunting Club of Baiona, who have informed their members of the incident. 

Five “curious” killer whales 

Although the animals are usually behind the islands in the deep channel where there are many fish, according to Díaz, “it is possible” that some members disperse, look around out of curiosity and eventually enter the interior of the ría. 

“We hope they don’t cause any problems,” he said, referring to recent incidents in both Galician and Atlantic waters involving these marine animals. They have already caused several confrontations with sailboats between the islands of Sálvora and Ons, near O’Grove. Various collisions between killer whales and sailing boats have also been recorded in the Strait of Gibraltar to the south. 

Therefore, Díaz advises to avoid orcas as much as possible. “While not all animals will cause harm, this group has caused problems before.” He further explained that their app at BDRI, Orcinus, has enabled them to confirm that this group of killer whales originated in the Bay of Biscay. That’s why they expect the orcas to move further south. 

Privileged naturalist 

Juan Diéguez is one of the most experienced ornithologists and naturalists in Galicia. He, along with other conservationists and enthusiasts, was one of the privileged ones who witnessed the arrival of the killer whales in the ría de Arousa on August 20th. 

According to the experts, the mere presence of killer whales in the estuary is positive news. Indeed, it makes clear the enormous amount of food entering the Rías Baixas as a whole. They therefore define the experience as “something historic, exciting and difficult to put into words”. 

Also see: Scientists warn: Killer whales are approaching Galicia 

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