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Killer whales

Duration: 06:43

South American sealions give birth on what appears to be a safe place in a breeding colony in Patagonia. But they are attacked by a group of killer whales who cruise offshore. The danger areas are the surf zone and places where deep channels come close to the beach. The whales throw themselves out of the sea and beach themselves as they lunge at the sealions. Footage shows a series of attacks, including using a channel to get close to shore. Afterwards the whales wriggle and thrash to get back into the water. The whales have a variety of different tactics including hunting as a group. After they've grabbed a seal they beat it against the shore and surf zone. Sometimes the whale takes its still living victim out to sea and 'plays' with it, throwing it about, hitting it with its tail and leaping out of the water to land on it. The whales each catch around three sealion pups a day.

Available since: Tue 22 Sep 2009

This clip is from

The Trials of Life Hunting and Escaping

4/12 David Attenborough looks at the life-and-death duels which are fought daily in the wild.

First broadcast: 24 Oct 1990

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