Photo: Paul Nicklen

Our guest for this episode of The WeWhale Pod is Hanne Strager, biologist, whale researcher and author of the recently published book The Killer Whale Journals: Our Love and Fear of Orcas (John Hopkins University Press).

Hanne tells us about her early interest in animals and also how she ended up volunteering to cook on a small fishing boat in northern Norway and how that decided what the rest of her life would be about.

She also shares some of the insights and impressions she gained on her travels over the years to learn more about orcas and the relationships that people have with them. This included travels in Australia, Greenland and to the black market ‘whale jails’ in the Russian wilderness of Kamchatka.

Hanne also talks about some of the close encounters she’s had with orcas and the intriguing connection that humans have with the whale species.

“They are mammals just like us – they live in family groups, they take care of their young, they are affectionate, they are playful,” she says.

“There are so many things that I think we recognise from ourselves and still their life is just so different because they live in the sea – it’s dark, it’s cold, it’s hard to understand what kind of life it is and that dichotomy that it’s both something we recognise and it’s something that’s very foreign, I think is part of what makes them so intriguing.”

Take a listen to the episode below:

Hanne’s book is available now. You can find out more about Hanne’s work on her website.

Thanks to Skalaa Music for post-production.

You can listen to previous episodes on our Podcast Page.