Orcas have large brains for their body size, and the region used for emotional intelligence is particularly well-developed. Southern Resident Killer Whales are a tightly bonded, close-knit community, who share a common language, traditions, and culture. It’s not surprising that their brains have evolved to process social and emotional experiences.

On occasion, we may get glimpses of this, such as during times of celebrations of birth and reunion, or mourning at the passing of a whale. Various “ceremonies” have been witnessed and documented and assumed to be the sharing of the loss of a cherished family member.