The Antarctic Big Five: Orcas

The other significant, charismatic predator on Antarctica is the Orca. There are four different ecotypes of Orca (or Killer Whale) in Antarctic waters and the two most commonly seen are the whale-eating type A and the seal- and penguin-eating type B. Especially the latter, with its common name ‘Gerlache Orca,’ is regularly seen during Antarctic cruises that visit the Gerlache Strait. These whales like open sea ice and are sometimes seen washing seals off ice floes. Just off the Peninsula, there is a chance to see type A orcas as they favour more open water where they hunt mainly Antarctic Minke Whales.

Gerlache (small type B) Orca and Humpback Whale



Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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