Breakout - Kaikōura Dolphins

This Pacific Coast region teems with wildlife as National Geographic Travel writer Heather Greenwood Davis discovers.

Watch: Why an Orca Spins a Sea Turtle with Its 'Nose'

This orca may be “playing with its food,” as orcas often do, or it may be a rare glimpse at an elder male teaching younger orcas to hunt. The older male orca span the sea turtle with the front of its head, called a rostrum, then one of the two youths carried another sea turtle by its fin. Filmed off Isla Isabela in the Galápagos, the orcas were observed playing with the turtles for half an hour—then swimming off without eating them. Young orcas learn survival skills by watching their elders. Only a few animal species, including orcas, teach behaviour with step-by-step instructions. Orcas don’t often hunt sea turtles, but they are among the few animals with the jaw strength to break the turtles’ shells.

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