Blood in the Water: Drone Video Films Whale-Hunting Orcas
Drone video captured a rare sight in coastal waters near Kamchatka, Russia: a group of orcas hunting a minke whale.

Credit: Still from Team Trip video

It was a dramatic chase with a gory end. A pod of orcas recently pursued and killed a minke whale off the coast of Kamchatka, Russia, and a member of a marine expedition captured the bloody scene on video from above, using a drone.

Researchers with the Far East Russia Orca Project (FEROP) spotted the whale-hunting orcas while on a scientific expedition in Avacha Gulf, southeast of Kamchatka. The six-day survey partnered FEROP biologists with Kosatka Cruises and Team Trip to document the region’s orcas, FEROP representatives wrote in a Facebook post.

The scientists spied a group of orcas in pursuit of a minke whale — an unusual sight, because orcas that hunt mammals are few in number and are rarely glimpsed in that region, according to the researchers. But what followed was even more exceptional, the scientists said: They found themselves with a front-row seat to the whale’s last minutes of life, which ended as the orcas tore the animal apart. [Photos: Orcas Are Chowing Down on Great-White-Shark Organs]

In the video, several orcas — including calves — pursued the whale, estimated to be about 39 feet (12 meters) long, RT News reported. FEROP researchers told RT News that the orcas chased the whale to the point of exhaustion, then held it under water to drown it, before ripping it to pieces. Then, on June 28, FEROP representatives shared photos of the hunt and kill in a Facebook post and on Instagram.

Original article on Live Science.