Orcas

The after-school Environmental Curriculum concludes with the Orcas (Grades 8 and 9) and a more in-depth look at marine science through such topics as Species Diversity, Marine Geology, Oceanography and Ocean Careers.

Some of the topics covered by the Orcas

Each child is given a personalised Ocean Journal in which to write down any questions they may have, the good ocean-minded choices that they made the previous week, information about a marine species that they have chosen and any cool facts that they have learnt about the ocean. Sessions begin with group discussions surrounding the information that they have brought with them. They are also encouraged to draw any new species that they may have encountered and to share any ideas they may have for topics that they would like covered.

Mascot:

  • Killer whale
  • Scientific Name: Orcinus orca
  • IUCN Status: DD (Data Deficient)
  • Distribution: Most widely distributed of the cetaceans with several different populations and many different ecotypes found in waters all over the world.
  • Average Adult Length: 5.5 m
  • Interesting Fact: Collapsed dorsal fins in these animals are not restricted to captive individuals. One of the theories is that it’s a result of old age. The dorsal fin of the male continues to grow throughout its life, reaching a staggering 2 m in some cases, and as it gets older the cartilage of this structure begins to weaken under the weight. The fins then begins to bend, roll or totally collapse.
  • Port and Starboard: The famous pair thought to be responsible for the carcasses of great white sharks washing up along South Africa’s South Coast. These two killer whales reportedly hunt the sharks in Gansbaai and False Bay, ambushing them with a hit from below and removing only their livers… with almost surgical precision. The liver is the most nutritious part of the shark, eating the rest of the animal would not be energy efficient… they would lose more energy than they would gain.