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Orcas Storm Beach to Grab Seals

Killer whales surf ashore for dinner

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 8, 2010 2:32 AM CST | Updated Feb 8, 2010 5:43 AM CST
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(Newser) – Innovative killer whales are breaching a beach in Argentina to grab seals and sea lions in the first such behavior ever witnessed. A pair of orcas particularly adept at the brazen strategy, nicknamed Mel and Maga by observing National Geographic scientists, have been spotted repeatedly riding the waves to shore, grabbing the animals, then slipping back into the water. "It's awe inspiring to see these creatures launch themselves onto the beach and snatch these baby seals," said witness Howard Rosenbaum of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

The animals are some 30 feet long and weigh 6 tons. They eat close to 500 pounds of food each day. "One of the most amazing things is that this is learned behavior," said Rosenbaum. "The whales actually teach each other how to do it." Mel and Maga are passing on their knowledge now to other hunter whales in an "underground killing school" just offshore, reports ABC News.

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