The Jakarta Post
The Environment and Forestry Ministry also revealed that several killer whales had been spotted in the Anambas waters in Riau Islands in April. (Shutterstock/Tory Kallman)
Several killer whales, also known as orcas, have been sighted in waters across the archipelago in the last several months, as one of the world's most powerful predators migrate to look for food.
According to the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the latest appearance of the sea mammal occurred on June 24 off the coast of Inobonto in North Sulawesi, where local fishermen found a 2-meter killer whale calf close to the shore. Authorities suspected that the animal had been separated from its pod.
Residents reported the incident to the North Sulawesi Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA), which immediately coordinated with local authorities and rushed to the location to lure the calf back into deeper waters. They waited until the afternoon to make sure it did not return to the shore.
This was not the only recent orca sighting. Twitter user @susenos uploaded a video to the social media platform on June 21 showing at least two killer whales in the waters near Biak Numfor in Papua.
selamat pagi ibu @susipudjiastuti saya mau tanya apa orca bisa datang ke perairan tropis indonesia? ini saya rekam kemarin siang bu di perairan kampung samber, kab. biak numfor pic.twitter.com/t46XwfHE4b— udin petot (@susenos) June 21, 2020
The Environment and Forestry Ministry also revealed that several killer whales had been spotted in the Anambas waters in Riau Islands in April.
The ministry’s biodiversity conservation director, Indra Exploitasia, said it was actually a common occurrence for orcas to appear in Indonesian waters because of their migration pattern.
"The orcas migrate as they follow warmer currents to look for food. The Indonesian archipelago is located within their migration route," she said in a statement on Friday.
According to the American Cetacean Society, the killer whale is found in all the oceans of the world, although most of them are common in cooler waters. Unlike some other species of whales that follow a regular migration route each year, the orca seems to travel according to the availability of food, making it difficult for researchers to predicted their migration pattern.
Indra urged people to be cautious when interacting with the carnivorous sea mammals because they are predators — though they are unlikely to make humans their prey. Like most wild animals, killer whales can also be stressed out by intense interaction with humans, which can endanger humans as well as the animal itself.
Killer whales are protected in Indonesia, according to the 2018 Environment and Forest Ministerial Regulation on protected animals and plants. (kuk)
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