An orca from New Zealand, who has survived death twice, is aiding research studies on whales.
Ben, a magnificent creature, is helping marine biologists understand where whales go and how far they travel. Orcas or killer whales are the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family.
The hero whale was first spotted in 1997. He was found at a beach near Mangawhai, just at the North of Auckland.
After a year Ben was spotted again. Only this time he had suffered substantial damage to his dorsal fin. This was due to a boat strike, which might have been fatal for the big guy.
As a result of this devastating injury, Ben became easily to recognize by researchers and dolphin watchers alike.
The Orca Research Trust (ORT) recorded details for every time he was seen. According to the ORT, the injured whale has traveled 40,000 km. It is equivalent to a trip around the world.
The top three average distances he has traveled are 145, 170, and 193 km. Surprisingly, all three of these occasions took place, after his injuries.
In addition to this, people have taken pictures of him for a total of 98 times. Isn’t he a famous boy?
The scars that the orca has are still prominent even after 21 years. Moreover, Ben has a whole chapter discussing him. The book is by the name Contributions to the Global Management and Conservation of Marine Mammals.
New Zealand has one of the highest boat strike rates of orcas. The reason is that these killer whales enjoy swimming in shallow waters. Consequently, it shows the importance of being able to provide a safe environment for these magnificent creatures.
Whales might not always survive such serious boat strikes. Whereas, Ben was an exception.
Ben, the orca has played its part in helping with the research. However, it is now up to humans to ensure a safe habitat for them.