A timely update on a beloved classic.
When Erich Hoyt's Orca: The Whale Called Killer was first published in 1981, little was known about Orcinus orca. The largest member of the dolphin family was then considered too dangerous to approach in the wild. That all changed when Erich Hoyt and his colleagues spent seven summers in the 1970s following these intelligent, playful creatures in the waters off northern Vancouver Island. Working alongside other researchers keen to understand the life history of the killer whale, Hoyt's group helped to dispel the negative mythology about orcas while uncovering the intimate details of their social behavior.
This revised fifth edition includes Hoyt's original account, plus exciting new chapters that bring readers up to date on the revolution in public awareness and orca research that has taken place. Hoyt's youthful adventures turned into his life's work. Now a world-renowned expert on whales and dolphins, he shares orca wisdom along with stories gleaned from decades of additional field study in the Russian Far East as well as return trips to Canada's West Coast to visit with the descendants of the killer whales he encountered 45 years ago.
Erich Hoyt is Research Fellow with Whale and Dolphin Conservation and founder/co-director of the Far East Russia Orca Project in Kamchatka. Author of 23 books, he co-chairs the IUCN Marine Mammal Protected Areas Task Force. Hoyt lives with his family in Bridport, Dorset.
Reviews of earlier editions:
"A fine record of observations accumulated by patience and cautious persistence [...] presented somewhat in diary form of the summers with the whales, and interwoven with facts [...] The result is a well-compounded blend of close-up nature observation, scientific knowledge, and history. Bonuses are interesting asides on the scenery and wildlife, the lumbering, salmon fishing, and the local flavor of northern Vancouver Island. Hoyt's theme is preserve killer whales in their natural environment. He makes a good argument for it."
– Elizabeth N. Shor, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, San Diego Union Tribune
"An enchanting story of adventure and discovery, one told with style, insight, charm and thoroughness."
– Akron Beacon Journal
"I have never read a better book on whales, partly because Hoyt writes so well [...] The developing relationship between the whale-watchers and these magnificent mammals makes absorbing reading [...] The book contains valuable scientific and historical appendixes and an excellent index [...] Don't miss it!"
– Philadelphia Inquirer
"There is nothing wildlife needs more urgently than truth, for once people understand, people will act with preserved habitat, protective legislation, the tools of conservation. Erich Hoyt tells the truth about the orca in his fascinating book Orca: The Whale Called Killer. It is in itself a conservation tool. Required reading."
– Roger Caras, ABC-TV News
"Monumental achievement [...] the best whale book in years."
– Ronn Patterson, Oceans
"A well-written, balanced account [...] interspersed in the story are excellent summaries of our current knowledge about orca attacks, feeding behavior and hearing acuity. Aside from maps and photos, 8 well-referenced appendixes and a 14-page bibliography make it an important reference source for scientists."
– Edward Mitchell, Arctic Biological Station [Canada], Canadian Geographic
"Superb [...] A fine story of adventure [...] One of the best nature books of the year."
– Publishers Weekly
"An engaging picture of the life of killer whales [...] Hoyt's style is easygoing and comfortable, and as well organized as it is informative."
– Cleveland Plain Dealer
"An intensely personal account [...] Scientific, political, and historical details are woven into a highly readable narrative [...] thorough appendixes, lengthy bibliography. Recommended."
– Library Journal