Experience the hauntingly beautiful world of orcas, and discover the stories that unfold when humans enter oceans alongside them.
When intrepid biology student Hanne Strager volunteered to be the cook on a small research vessel in Norway's Lofoten Islands, the trip inspired a decades-long journey into the lives of killer whales – and an exploration of people's complex relationships with the biggest predators on earth. The Killer Whale Journals chronicles the now internationally renowned science writer's fascinating adventures around the world, documenting Strager's personal experiences with orcas in the wild.
Killer whales' incredible intelligence, long life spans, and strong family bonds lead many people to see them as kindred spirits in the sea. But not everyone feels this way – like wolves, orcas have been both beloved and vilified throughout human history. In this absorbing odyssey, Strager traces the complicated relationship between humans and killer whales, while delving into their behaviour, biology, and ecology. She brings us along in her travels to the most remote corners of the world, battling the stormy Arctic seas of northern Norway with fellow biologists intent on decoding whale song, interviewing First Nations conservationists in Vancouver, observing Inuit hunters in Greenland, and witnessing the dismantling of black market "whale jails" in the Russian wilderness of Kamchatka. Through these captivating stories, Strager introduces us to a diverse cast of characters from Inuit elders to Australian Aboriginal whalers and guides us through the world's wild waters, from fjords above the Arctic circle in Norway to the poaching-infested waters off Kamchatka. Featuring astonishing photographs from famed nature photographer and conservationist Paul Nicklen, The Killer Whale Journals reveals rare and intimate moments of connection with these fierce, brilliant predators.
1. Bloody Beasts
2. Sea Change
3. Blubber Choppers
4. The Law of the Tongue
5. War Zone
6. A Turn for the Better
7. The Whales in the Potato Field
8. The Whales at the End of the World
9. The Whale Jail
11. Family Matters
12. Cut in Stone
Hanne Strager (Copenhagen, Denmark) is a biologist, whale researcher, and the future Director of Exhibitions and Visitor Experience at The Whale, a museum in Norway set to open in 2025. She co-founded a whale centre in Norway and has served as the Director of Exhibitions at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. She is the author of A Modest Genius: The Story of Darwin's Life and How His Ideas Changed Everything.
"The Killer Whale Journals provides a fascinating insight into the world of the killer whale, or orca, and our relationship with them. Strager's scientific investigations combined with her love for these magnificent predators will inspire many to help efforts to protect them from the many threats facing them throughout their range."
– Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute & U. N. Messenger of Peace
"A great read. Learning about the different perspectives on killer whales was eye-opening for me. Strager not only educates readers about killer whales in general, but also shows how human perspectives on killer whales change over time. Nature lovers and whale lovers will want to read this book."
– Tracie Merrill, Education Curator, The Whale Museum
"In The Killer Whale Journals, Hanne Strager tells stories of how fear and hatred can be transformed into love and appreciation. Strager shares her experience of a whale steak dinner on a whaling ship, draws on ancient lore, and investigates what motivated a Norwegian fishing community to save a group of stranded killer whales. Throughout the book, she explores the complicated relationship between animals and humans."
– Catherine DeNardo, writer and editor