Mysterious Gathering of Orcas

Investigating the enigmatic behavior of a huge orca grouping

The waters off Hokkaido's Shiretoko Peninsula host one of the largest gatherings of orcas in the world. But very little is known about the purpose of the mass meetings. To find out, a team of marine researchers and NHK followed the orcas for two years using drones, deep-water cameras and other specialized equipment. In a rare encounter with a pod of almost 100 individuals, the team captures astonishing moments that can be attributed to meeting potential mates, or adolescents "practicing" social behaviors with friends. The investigation reveals the orcas' high intelligence and strong family ties.