The killer whale (Orcinus orca), also referred to as the orca whale or orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family. Killer whales are found in all oceans, from the frigid Arctic and Antarctic regions to tropical seas. Killer whales as a species have a diverse diet, although individual populations often specialize in particular types of prey. Some feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as sea lions, seals, walruses, and even large whales. Killer whales are regarded as apex predators, lacking natural predators.
Killer whales are highly social; some populations are composed of matrilineal family groups which are the most stable of any animal species. Their sophisticated hunting techniques and vocal behaviors, which are often specific to a particular group and passed across generations, have been described as manifestations of culture.
The IUCN currently assesses the orca's conservation status as data deficient because of the likelihood that two or more killer whale types are separate species. Some local populations are considered threatened or endangered due to prey depletion, habitat loss, pollution (by PCBs), capture for marine mammal parks, and conflicts with fisheries. In late 2005, the "southern resident" population of killer whales that inhabits British Columbia and Washington state waters were placed on the U.S. Endangered Species list.
The Kamchatka Peninsula (Russian: полуо́стров Камча́тка, poluostrov Kamchatka) is a 1,250-kilometre (780 mi) peninsula in the Russian Far East, with an area of about 270,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi). It lies between the Pacific Ocean to the east and the Sea of Okhotsk to the west. Immediately offshore along the Pacific coast of the peninsula runs the 10,500-metre (34,400 ft) deep Kuril-Kamchatka Trench.
The Kamchatka Peninsula, the Commander Islands, and Karaginsky Island constitute the Kamchatka Krai of the Russian Federation. The vast majority of the 322,079 inhabitants are Russians, but there are also about 8,743 Koryaks (2002). More than half of the population lives in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky (179,526 people in 2010) and nearby Yelizovo (38,980).
Kamchatka receives up to 2,700 mm (110 in) of precipitation per year. The summers are moderately cool, and the winters tend to be rather stormy though rarely producing lightning.