Luna the Whale Imitates a Motorboat, Sends a Message to Mankind

Travel News — By Candice Walsh on October 31, 2011 at 9:16 am

These past couple of weeks, a video of an orca whale perfectly imitating the sound of a motorboat has been getting lots of attention on YouTube, despite the video actually being a couple years old.

Meet Luna, a calf who was separated from his pod off the coast of Vancouver Island but managed to survive on his own, happily interacting with humans passing by on boats until he was about five years old. He’s also believed to be the spirit of a chief belonging to the Mowachaht/Muchalaht tribe, but we’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

Image: JaimeW/Flickr

In this video, Luna is shown swimming next to quiet motorboat. He begins gurgling and whirring in earnest, sounding pretty much exactly like how the boat’s motor sounds.


Luna’s talent for mastering the art of imitation is impressive, especially since noise pollution in our oceans caused by propellers and other ship equipment is dramatically (and negatively) affecting how whales, dolphins and other marine animals are able to navigate, communicate, and find mates.

A whale sings at low frequency, barely distinguishable to most people. Their acoustic abilities are so fine-tuned, they can communicate across oceans–but once their sonar is interrupted by noise “smog,” things can go awry pretty quickly.

Nobody really knows what Luna’s trying to say in the video, but we’d like to make an educated guess. How about, “You idiots, don’t you realize how awful this sounds? You’re killing us down here!” That or, “Good Morning!”.

Tags: luna the whale, orca, ships

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