Skip to main content

Table 4 Summary of Inuit interviewee information and observations of killer whale attacks on narwhals, and observations of dead narwhals that were killed by killer whales.

From: Prey items and predation behavior of killer whales (Orcinus orca) in Nunavut, Canada based on Inuit hunter interviews

Observations and information on killer whale attacks on narwhals    Region   
  Foxe Basin* Hudson Bay North Baffin South Baffin Total
Interviewees reporting first-hand observations 5 4 13 2 24
Interviewees reporting second-hand observations and stories   1 3   4
Interviewees providing descriptions of attacks and attack methods 3   9 2 14
Killer whales:      
   ...herd narwhal to a suitable location with deep enough water, and circle to keep them stationary and prevent their escape 2   1   3
   ...tire out the narwhal prior to commencing an attack   1 1   2
   ...drown narwhal    2   2
   ...ram narwhal "to break their ribs" 1   5   6
   ...bite narwhal in the middle of the body, carry them in their mouth 2   3 1 6
   ...throw narwhal into the air, hit them with their tail and play with them, tear them apart and throw the pieces around 1   4 1 6
   ...leave lots of oil and scraps of blubber on the water 1 1 2   4
Interviewees reporting dead narwhals that were killed by killer whales 3 7 7   17
Interviewees providing descriptions of dead narwhals 2 6 6   14
Hunters find dead narwhals:      
   ...that are all busted up, with broken ribs 2 1 3   6
   ...that are covered with bite marks, with chunks and pieces missing   5 3   8
   ...that are killed but not eaten, killed for fun   2 1   3
   ...that are being scavenged by birds    1   1
   ...that meat and maqtaq can be collected from    3   3
  1. * five Foxe Basin interviewees observed attacks on narwhal, but most occurred in other areas (Admiralty Inlet, 1; Pond Inlet, 1; Lyon Inlet, 2)