False killer whales, also known as Pseudorcas, are the among the most fearless and interactive of all Costa Rica´s Cetaceans. If you ever are lucky enough to meet one you will never forget it. This very cool tribe is probably endangered in Costa Rica. Let Costa Cetacea introduce you to them below.
The False Killer Whales of Costa Rica are one of the only known coastal populations of this very large member of the dolphin family. False killer whales, giant dolphins really, are one of Costa Rica´s most amazing, unknown and intelligent creatures. They have been crusing the coasts of the Osa from Corcovado to Drake Bay and on to Ballena National Park for decades. They sometimes bring people big live fish. Their sounds are amoung the most beautiful of all whales or dolphins. Check out the Osa Blue Water Pelagic Video Guide for incredible shots of some of the coolest beings on planet earth.
False Killer Whales, also known as Pseudorcas, are the biggest thing that acts like a dolphin in the air. Osa Costa Rica has some of the only coastal one known and the only known mainland location with False Killer Whales. Costa Rica´s False killer whales are proablably endangered and need your help. Here they are not as lucky as their primos in Hawaii, they have no park and the waters they travel along the Osa are often clogged with long line and shrimp boat nets. When they head offshore they run into tuna fleet nets.
False killer whale of Osa Costa Rica close up photo. These giant dolphins are probably endangered in Costa Rica but they have no parks worthy of their size like their primos in Hawaii. They are one of the great cultures on Planet Earth. To see wild video of False killer whales swimming with people in Osa´s blue water pelagic ecosytem click on the eye of the False Killer Whale above.
False killer whales in Costa Rica often surround boats with out fear. Costa Cetacea has documented the same clan visiting Osa for decades. We must help them to survive with pelagic parks and a special whale trail corridor in Costa Rica. The Whale Trail Corridor is a Costa Cetacea idea to protect the False Killer Whales in Costa Rica inspired by the new marine conservation efforts of our primos in Hawaii.
Wild animals that bring fish to humans. False killer whale in Osa Costa Rica bring gift of fresh fish to Costa Cetacea chief guide Shawn Larkin. Why do you think that they do this? Write firstname.lastname@example.org with your ideas. Copyright 2010 Shawn Larkin
Gift of the Giant Dolphins By Shawn Larkin
Versions of this story have appeared in the Tico Times, www.ticotimes.net, central americas leading English language newspaper, and in the classic Costa Rican book True Costa Rican Wild Animal Stories.
If only animals were smart enough to not take food from strange creatures like us. As you know, animals the world over have been tricked and enslaved or even killed because they wanted something to eat. Wild animals may be degraded to beggars who can no longer hunt for their own food. Once little ones learn to beg, they grow up not knowing how to get wild food. Hungry beggars, used to handouts, may even attack people who bring no food. For these reasons, feeding animals in parks in Costa Rica and the world over is illegal.
You might think that people would not take food from strange creatures. Or wouldn't they? If a giant dolphin swam over to your boat and offered you a large, live yellowfin tuna – picture tuna sashimi with soy sauce and wasabi – would you take it? What if the giant dolphin brought you other kinds of tasty fish as well?
Fish gifts to people happen occasionally in the waters off the the Pacific coast of the Osa Peninsula in the southern zone of Costa Rica. Some people have accepted the gifts; others did not understand a fish was being offered. Once, a fish had to be returned
The giant dolphins that give out meals to humans are called pseudorcas (Pseudorca crassidens), also known as false killer whales, despite the fact that they look nothing like killer whales. They do look somewhat like pilot whales, however, and many longtime guides and captains still confuse the two. Once thought to be extinct, long-term studies of this strange creature do not exist.
No animals anywhere are quite like pseudorcas. They are as spectacular as any creature in existence. Extremely muscular and lean-looking, the beasts can weigh in at 3,000 pounds and may reach 20 feet long.
Pseudorcas make sharks flee for their lives. They are the third-largest members of the family Delphinidae, the oceanic dolphins, after orcas and pilot whales. Of all the whales and dolphins seen in Costa Rica, pseudorcas are perhaps the least fearful and most curious toward people.
Pseudorcas here are often not afraid of people at all. They may come right up to you in the water and look directly into your face from a few inches away. A group of them might decide to inspect you in this fashion all at once, surrounding you and taking turns looking in your eyes.
The sounds these animals make are among the most beautiful I have heard. Think of ringing, long metal wind chimes, except the notes do not fade away; they may be sustained, and the crystal-clear and pure pitches fluidly rise and fall. Often the sounds are so loud they can be heard on the boat, over the noise of running two-stroke outboard motors.
Underwater, if you hum a few notes into your snorkel, they may repeat the same notes back to you, with the same pitch and timing, but in the sweet pseudorca tone. They may blow fine streams of bubbles from their blowholes as they do this. The inter-species music might go on for as long as some human songs last.
Pseudorcas surf the waves of boats with a fervor bordering on frenzy. They often fly completely out of the water, right next to a boat. This is especially impressive when the animals are larger than the boat. While the massive mammal hangs in the air next to your boat, it may open its mouth, showing big, rounded white teeth set in huge jaws, then snap its jaws shut before diving back into the water. A group may surround your moving boat doing various similar stunts. The curious creatures often make a visit to every boat in the area.
You never know when you will see pseudorcas off the Costa Rican Pacific coast of the Osa. They are not seen for years at time in Guanacaste, but here on the Osa they show up every year multiple times. They may be in the general area every day for two months, or they may disappear for months at a time, any time of the year. You might see them from beaches and rocky points hunting roosterfish just off the rocks, or they may be far offshore chasing tuna.
For several years at least, these amazing animals have been reported to bring gifts of large fish to boats and people off the peninsula. An 88-pound roosterfish presented still alive to one boat was the biggest rooster anyone in had ever seen in Drake Bay, Osa peninsula. The hunters bring jack, tuna and snapper, alive but injured. The gifts have been accepted many times, the tasty fish feasted upon by numerous people.
No one should feed pseudorcas, but one time we had to give a fish back. Heading back to Isla del Caño, an island and biological reserve off Drake Bay, after diving Bajo del Diablo, we were having a normal classic session with some pseudorcas, the giant dolphins leaping and surfing around our slow motoring boat. The animals began blowing bursts of bubbles all around the boat, so we stopped to see what they were up to. One pseudorca swam over to the boat with a large, injured big-eye jack in its mouth. Several animals blew massive bubble fountains around the boat, and the one carrying the jack released it under the boat. I filmed the animals with the jack under the boat for a moment, and then one took the jack in its mouth again and held it at the surface next to the captain.
The captain took the fish from the pseudorca. The animals blew bubbles. Then we remembered we were in Isla del Caño Biological Reserve waters, where fishing or taking anything is illegal. No ranger would accept the excuse that a giant dolphin gave us the jack; we could be in big trouble, and perhaps lose our license to guide at Caño. Put the fish back, we decided. The captain put the fish in the water and the pseudorca swam back over.
The dolphin blew a large bubble signal and then slowly approached the fish. Ever so gently it reached over, opened its massive jaws and delicately took the gift back and swam away. The other pseudorca, which had stayed alongside the whole time, blew a minuscule bubble trail and swam off with its companion.
Are they giving gifts as a tribute for hunting in “our” waters? Or are they trying to trick us to into boating around and burning fuel to make nice surfing waves for them? Who is the ignorant savage? Is it right or wrong to accept gifts from the giant dolphins?
Did we offend the animals by refusing the gift at Isla del Caño? They gave me a tuna last time, so I like to think that they figure I'm a little picky, and will not bring me any more jack. I much prefer the tuna.
Copyright Shawn Larkin 2010 All rights Reserved.
Versions of this story online have been edited to make it appear as if its Pacific coast in general rather than the wild Osa. So do not be confused, this stuff does not happen any where in Guanacaste that Costa Cetacea has ever heard of. Only Osa.
All these animals have known each other for years. If you known them you can tell by their unique dorsal fin and hair. Shawn and Star Larkin and Nickki Whale. People and False killer whales offshore of the Osa Peninsula, Pacific, Costa Rica. Photo by Vanessa Larkin
The same False killer whale as in the photo above it, years later. These giant dolphins need giant ocean parks, click the nick on the end of the fin to learn more.