A study investigated how orcas orcas orient and locate their prey for hunting and thus determine if it is a behavior that cetaceans learn or if it is innate.
Researchers from the Loro Parque Zoo and the University of Southern Denmark provided information on the echolocation of killer whales, which would help to better understand and protect these animals with more reliable risk assessments on the impact of noise, its possible consequences, and even age estimates, based on sound recordings.
The study consisted of daily monitoring of the orca Morgan, a recently hatched calf at the zoo.
Echolocation is the location of an object through the reflection of sound waves, used by animal species such as bats and cetaceans and in sonar systems.
It is a key sense that favors its orientation and the location of prey for hunting.
On many species, such as bats or dolphins, there are already studies on their echolocation abilities, although it is not yet clear how it develops.
In the case of dolphins, recordings under human care indicate that echolocation can develop after about three to four weeks, although other studies indicate that it can take much longer.
Bet on scientific research in killer whales
Loro Parque is also collaborating with the University of Zurich in a study on learning communication in killer whales and will investigate how the calf is adopting and using the communication sounds of the group dialect.
Another Norwegian research group will study the persistence of identifying marks in orca calves, which will help to identify and monitor these animals much more precisely in the wild.
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