Killers in Eden

NATURE’s Killers in Eden examines a remarkable and mysterious partnership between killer whales and whalers.

On the southeast coast of Australia, the town of Eden nestles along the shores of Twofold Bay. It was once a center of Australia’s thriving whaling industry, in part because it lies along the migration path of baleen whales swimming northward from the Antarctic. But residents say Eden’s whalers got some unusual help — from orcas, or killer whales, that patrolled offshore.

Locals such as Elsie Severs and Alice Otten who witnessed the hunts say the orcas took the lead in the hunt, herding larger migrating whales into the bay. Once the whales were confined in the bay, the orcas would then attack their quarry to the point of exhaustion. Human whalers moved in for the final kill — then shared the spoils with the orcas.

Discover this extraordinary story of interspecies cooperation on NATURE’s Killers in Eden.

To order a copy of Killers in Eden, please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for Killers in Eden was originally posted November 2005.

  • debbie vaught

    PLEASE show “Killers in Eden” again!! i’ve told several friends about the remarkable show and have been waiting for it to come around again. It was awe inspiring!!!

  • gary

    I can’t believe that people are so mean that they kill everything to extinction. Poor George.

  • Nicole Davis

    I was in complete awe when watching this and couln’t leave the tv for a second. what amazing creatures!

  • Syb Traverso

    This was truly an awesome show. We are regular PBS watchers, keep up the GREAT work.

  • Alice Webb

    I agree with Debbie Vaught. I would love to see it again myself but I have told a lot of people about it who want to see it too! Please show it again real soon.

  • courtneyvolkert

    i fell in love with this story and only got to watch parts of it. i need to watch it again!!!

  • spike kingery

    this amazing show is one of too few examples of the depth of intra-species and inter-species relationships. the taboo against professional ethologists producing great books like “when elephants weep”–which emphasize the emotional side of non-human species–is so great that seeing something like this not only make it to the public but do so in such a poignant manner is very satisfying. thank you.

  • Diane Blankenhorn

    Thank you so much for a simply amazing show! I always enjoy watching Nature, but this one was the best I have seen. I, too, would like to hear from the aborigines. Diane

  • Joyce James

    This was an amazing show….I came in part way through the show and was so touched. The inter relationship between the killer whale and people. Wow. I am telling everyone about it. We need to appreciate nature more through this kind of awareness.

  • christine twible

    thank you for a wonderfull show. I am the niece of Elsie and did not know about this history in my family. It was a shock to see this and a great delight. I know we came from Eden and I was born in Pambula in 1950 but left in 1952. My father was Auther Severs one of a large family. I thank you so much for this show.

  • Hortencia sanchez

    I love the show,but I realy didn’t understand the ending.Who kill tom was it george or the man.

  • kenny cooper

    thank you for a great show

  • Susana

    I was moved to tears by the desperate attempts of the baleen whale to escape the brutality of both the Orcas and the Eden Whalers. My heart sank every time I heard the dying “screams” of the whale. The only person who made sense to me was the local resident who recalled the brutal slaughter of a beautiful, sentient creature. It was torture watching this show. The obscene inhumanity of the whalers made this inter-species cooperation possible.

  • Jeff Smith

    I watch your show nature at it best,heart felt for the whales,life is what it is,wish to see alot more on killer whales,without this show,on nature,I would not get to see nature at it best,THANK YOU<

  • Barb Robb

    We humans have so much to learn and sometimes from other species, intelligent creatures with dignity, as evidenced by the whales who helped the whalers in Eden. I am intrigued by the “language” of the whales. The whale squeeks and squeals that accompanied the film footage somehow elicted an emotional response in me. Super program that should be seen again and again. Thank you.

  • Vivian

    I agree with Susana’s opinion of this film and at the end of the scene of the dying whale I turned the TV off. It reminded me of the horrible brutality in the book A WHALE FOR THE KILLING.

  • WITY


  • mark throckmorton

    George Davidson is a forgotten australian icon and the true story of what happened in twofold bay is amazing if you havent read the book read it its brilliant

  • Helsbels

    Please show this episode again. It is a part of our dark history in whaling and an interesting relationship between two species.
    Thank you.

  • javier cavazos

    I also missed this show and have heard rave reviews…please show it again in austin texas!

  • Suzanne

    This was Natures best show to date and perhaps one its most important. ‘The relationship between these whales and whalers was most unusual and extraordinary. I was ashamed to be lumped into the same species as the killer of George and am still haunted by the arrogance and horror of the act which in turn, lead to the end of a very unique relationship. This episode is worthy of repeat showings.

  • Maria

    I’ve been talking about this show for a long time. Everyone wants to see it. Please show it again. Such an increadible story.

  • Molly

    This is a haunting story and one that I keep talking about years after first seeing it. Please air it again for the many people who are anxious to see it after hearing all of us fans rave about it. I am planning a trip to Eden because of this show.

  • Zachary Klei

    Thanks for a great time tasting today James. We still think that woman was mad for not loving the sticky! We’ll be back!PS we won’t mention the bug!

  • Barb

    Are you going to show this again? I was told about it and am interested in seeing it. Thanks.

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