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VIDEO: Killer whales attack sea lion in Southeast Alaska

Sightseeing tour boat captain Andrew Harpster was on a trip out of Juneau in Southeast Alaska recently when he came upon a pod of orcas toying with a Steller sea lion as a precursor to a meal.

Harpster uploaded the video to YouTube and shared it on Reddit in recent days. In the video, which runs for two and a half minutes, a group of at least seven orcas push and nudge a Steller sea lion as it struggles near the water's surface. Harpster said on Reddit that the video was captured north of Aaron Island, near Shelter Island northwest of Juneau.

"I spent 45 minutes watching it, and they were still attacking when I left," Harpster wrote. "It hurt my soul to leave but I had to take my passengers back to the dock. And yes, I saw it start. I was in North Pass watching humpbacks and keeping an eye on the boats on AIS, and saw the orcas making their way toward Eagle Reef at a mid tide where harbor seals haul out."

Harpster points out that the group of whales was a transient pod, which differ from resident orcas in both appearance and feeding habits. Where resident orcas typically make meals out of the abundant salmon and other fish in Alaska waters, transient orcas tend to favor marine mammals, like the Steller sea lion seen in the video.

Adult Steller sea lions weigh, on average, between about 575 pounds and almost 1,250 pounds, with a wide size discrepancy between the sexes, according to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. That doesn't stack up to an adult male killer whale, though, which can grow up to 27 feet long and weigh more than 13,000 pounds.

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