Killer whales spotted in the Gulf
We really know very little about whales and dolphins in the Gulf! Killer whales or Orcas are indeed a rare sight, however if we start to put together all the sightings now available to our knowledge since 2008, we can start to see a pattern. In 2008 two sightings were recorded in Abu Dhabi waters, one in June comprising 7 individuals and a second one in early September close to shore in the shallow waters off Taweelah. In August Of the same year a stranded killer whale was reported in RAK. Then In February and March of 2011 killer whales were sighted offshore Abu Dhabi and in January 2012 by Dolphin Khasab Tour in Musandam. In November 2013 another stranding of Killer whale was recorded in Sir Bani Yas and and two months later in January 2014 four killer whales were reported only 5 miles off Palm Jumeirah, Dubai. Interesting enough the latter sighting reported a few weeks ago, was near Ras Ghurab, practically in the same area of the first sighting reported in 2008. A coincidence? Killer whales are strictly matrifocal species and despite being capable of excursions of several thousands of kilometres, in some areas studies show that populations are actually quite resident. Despite the general perception that associates killer whales to cold waters of the northern regions of the world, they are actually the most cosmopolitan of all cetaceans and may be the second-most widely-ranging mammal species on the planet, after humans. They belong to the same group as dolphins and are divided in marine mammal feeders and fish feeders although the morphology is practically the same. Males can be distinguished from females by their exceptionally tall dorsal fin that can reach up to two meters in height.