Video: Killer whales spotted off Oman's coast

Oman Tuesday 23/October/2018 21:36 PM
By: Times News Service

Muscat: A Muscat-based expat enjoyed a unique encounter with five Orca whales off the coast of Sifah. Paul Wilcox encountered the whales while fishing with a friend.
Speaking to the Times of Oman, he said, “About 20-30 km off Sifah, we found many dolphins spread out over a large area, but with no signs of fish. Moving from pod to pod of dolphin, I suddenly spotted a very large dorsal fin stationary in the water. It was a huge surprise, but a humbling experience to have not just one, but around five Killer Whales (Orcas), swim with the boat, looking up at us inquisitively for a good 30 minutes.
Wilcox added, “The animals were not at all threatening, just playing alongside the boat, as dolphins do.”
Wilcox said: “We feel very privileged and exhilarated to have witnessed these majestic animals in their natural habitat, in an area where this is the last thing I expected to see on a day out fishing!”
“I have been fishing in Muscat’s coastal waters for nearly 10 years, and have never come across them before. It is an experience that my friends and I will never forget.”
The Environment Society of Oman (ESO) also commented on the incident. Suaad Al Harthi, Executive Director of ESO, said, “Orcas, also known as killer whales, are easily recognised by their distinctive black and white coloration. Oman is home to over 20 different species of whales and dolphins, of which killer whales are considered to be the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family.
“These toothed whales are considered apex predators and are carnivores, feeding on fish or, in some instances, hunting in groups and preying on young marine mammals. They do not pose a direct threat to humans, however, as with all whales and dolphins in Oman’s waters, we would recommend allowing them to roam free without being harassed or chased by boats,” he said.
“Also, we do not recommend swimming with any whales or dolphins, as this could pose a risk to both humans, as well as the animals,” she added.
“The status and population size of Orcas entering Oman’s waters has not been well documented. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the global population status as data deficient,” said Al Harthi.