Killer whales spotted in tropical Indonesian waters

Pods of orcas have appeared in several spots across the tropical waters of Indonesia this year, the environment and forestry ministry said over the weekend.

The ministry said Saturday on its official Twitter account that an orca calf was stranded in the waters off Inobonto of Bolaang Mongondow district in North Sulawesi, and a few killer whales were spotted by a diver who uploaded on his Twitter handle @susenos his clip of the killer whales’ appearance while diving in Biak Numfor, Papua on June 20.

The ministry said the latest sighting of the killer whale in the archipelago was that of the two-meter-long calf on June 24, which was believed to have been separated from its pod.

Indra Exploitasia, the ministry’s biodiversity conservation director, said local conservation officials lured the calf back to high seas after receiving reports from fishermen, and after a clip of locals playing with the calf on the water went viral.

“They monitored the calf until the afternoon to make sure that it did not return to the shore,” she said.

Orcas are classified as a protected species in Indonesia under a 2018 environment and forestry ministry regulation.

According to the ministry’s record, the first sighting of orcas in Indonesian waters this year was on April 4 in the waters off Anambas Island in the Natuna Sea, while another pod was also sighted on April 30 in the waters of East Flores regency in East Nusa Tenggara province.

“Orcas appear in the Indonesian waters as they migrate in a pod of five to seven whales. It is common for the sea mammals to migrate as they follow the pattern of seawater temperature in search of food,” Exploitasia said.

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