The orcas are highly intelligent and aggressive animals that coordinate their attacks to capture everything from large prey like whales to smaller ones like seals. We have seen how they can work together to create waves and throw them off ice floes where they take refuge.
Photographer Shawn Heinrichs has documented, for the first time in photo and video underwater, the attack of a group of orcas on a pod of sperm whales to hunt one of the calves. These images, captured on the south coast of Sri Lanka, were taken while the cameraman was in the area looking for blue whales when the enormous dorsal fin of an orca cut through the surface. They instantly realized that a group of sperm whales had emerged beside them, huddled on the surface just meters from their boat in a defensive posture.
For 30 minutes, the five orcas harassed the six sperm whales, hitting and biting several, leaving the water turbid and bloody after the fight. After that half hour, the orcas fled, apparently having killed the young whale.
In the words of Shawn Heinrichs, "As I took pictures on the surface, the scene began to clarify a bit more: it seemed that a group of approximately 5 orcas was attacking a family of about 6 sperm whales." He continues Heinrichs, "The attack was violent and disturbing, as the panicked sperm whales were clearly no match for the speed and maneuverability of the orcas."