Watch: Killer whales spotted in UAE waters; where are they now?

Will residents in other parts of the country still be able to see these beautiful orcas? Here's what an expert says


Nandini Sircar

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Thu 11 May 2023, 1:04 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 May 2023, 4:25 PM

Egyptian expat Ahmed Afifi and his fellow anglers were out in the waters chasing kingfish — when, suddenly, most of the fish disappeared from the surface. Then, there was silence.

"We could see no fish in the waters. Suddenly, one of the other anglers on the boat said that he spotted a whale jumping out of the water. At first, I couldn’t believe it as I have been doing [these fishing trips] since 2008. I go fishing every other day and I’ve never seen a killer whale around in Abu Dhabi," he told Khaleej Times about the sighting earlier this week.

Afifi was not the only one surprised — thousands of UAE residents couldn't believe it either, as they 'reacted' with hearts and likes on the videos showing the orcas frolicking in the waters. (The stunning aerial shot above was shared by the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi.)

Other clips have also gone viral across platforms, like this one:

Afifi, who serves as the managing director and co-founder of Just Fishing Group, said the two rare killer whales are probably now on their way back to their home in the Indian Ocean.

"They came from the Indian Ocean, went into the Arabian Sea and the Sea of Oman, and were then headed to the Gulf. They are on their way back now because they were later spotted in Jebel Ali and then Sharjah. So, they are leaving now," he explained.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of the emirate, also shared a video of the sighting in Dubai waters on Wednesday.

When the orcas were spotted off Abu Dhabi, they were only eight to 11 metres into the water — "very close to the shore", Afifi said.

“Even the buildings around were visible. I still find it hard to believe that I spotted these so close to the shore. Earlier, I had spotted these some 420km into the sea but never near the shore," he added.

What were they doing in the waters?

Afifi and his lucky angler group did not only spot the orcas — they were also able to watch them in action.

“These creatures were playing with the dugong (sea cow) before attacking and eating it. They are so mean. They were playing with it. They were trying to put it up and down, make bubbles, flipped it over, and made the dugong very tired. They kill creatures slowly and make them suffer a lot,” he said.

Apparently, these killer whales live in groups and are adept at making traps before attacking their targets.

“In Portugal, they attacked 400 boats after their leader died. These killer whales love to eat seals. That’s why they were in this area. They are almost the only creature who can set a trap for dolphins. They can catch the most difficult creatures in the sea. They attack humans if they feel threatened by them.”

Top Stories

Sharing another interesting trivia about orcas, Afifi said: “In some other countries, these whales kill a whole whale that nobody else can dare to attack. After killing the creature, they eat only the tongue or liver and leave the rest. So, these creatures are sharp, criminal, and aggressive.”

Authorities recently issued a warning for beach-goers after the whales were sighted off the Capital's coast.

The sighting in the UAE, Afifi said, was a testament to the country's healthy marine environment.

The waters of Abu Dhabi, for instance, are teeming with kingfish, groupers, golden trevally, and cobia. “This is more evident after the prudent decision of banning net-fishing and cages," he added.


More news from UAE