The incident was filmed last summer in the Okhotsk Sea off the east coast of Russia during the summer field season. Bowhead whales are only found in polar waters in the northern hemisphere and have evolved to cope with living within the thick pack ice. They are capable of living in excess of 200 years.
This attack took place in an area off the Russian coastline where orcas are targeted by the captivity industry. Very little is still known about orcas in Russian waters with vital research being carried out by the Far East Russian Orca Project (FEROP).
Commenting on the footage, WDC Research Fellow and FEROP Director, Erich Hoyt explained, “This extraordinary video shows a juvenile bowhead being corralled and killed by orcas in summer 2016, although it has only been made public recently. It happened in the southwestern Okhotsk Sea in an area where up to 20 marine-mammal eating orcas have been captured for Chinese and Russian marine zoos and aquariums over the last few years.”