While being caught in the jaws of a killer whale may be terrifying, it’s not always a death sentence. Killer whales, also known as orcas, occasionally conduct coordinated attacks on animals they have no intention of eating—including sea turtles.
In the winter of 2017, photographer and biology student Nicolás Dávalos was conducting field work off the coast of Isla Isabela, the largest of the Galapagos islands. Dávalos, snorkeling at the surface, watched in awe as a group of three orcas—an adult and two juveniles—went after a pair of green sea turtles.
The eldest orca began using the front of its head, known as the rostrum, to violently spin a turtle. Meanwhile, one of the juveniles grabbed a second turtle by the