16-year-old orca Wikie mimics the words using squawks, whistles and raspberries

A killer whale has been taught to 'speak' human words through her blowhole.

A team of researchers have been teaching basic words to Wikie - a 16-year-old captive orca at a French team park.

The study was carried out at Marineland Aquarium in Antibes two years ago.

The findings have been revealed in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Researchers believe they may be able to have basic "conversations" with Wikie one day.

Wikie has been recorded copying words such as "hello" and "Amy", as well as counting "one, two, three".

The sounds emerge as squawks, whistles or raspberries:

Dr Jose Abramson from Complutense de Madrid University in Spain, who led the study, explained: "It has been done before with a famous grey parrot and dolphins using American sign language.

"But you have to be careful about imposing our human concepts on animals."

He added: “We will gain more if we try to understand the natural way each species communicates in its own environment than if we try to teach a human language."