Transient orcas gathering pose possible threat to localsBy lgordon | March 2nd, 2009 | Category: Blog, Science |
By Sound News reporter Lyndsay Gordon
The transient orcas, those that travel through Puget Sound on occasion, usually travel in groups of two or three. However, on February 23 the transient orcas were sighted up north around Vancouver in a group of 19 animals. This grouping would be considered a superpod, where multiple pods of animals converge momentarily. The transient orcas and the local pods do not interbreed or even usually interact.
There have been past sightings where the two groups of animals were within close proximity and the local adult orcas chased the transients away. It is speculated that the transient orcas, who feed on sea lions and other larger prey, are viewed as a potential threat to the local calves by adults, according to the research curator at the Whale Museum, Jason Wood.
The mass group of transients potentially poses a threat to either J or K pods if they travel alone, but L pod on its own outnumbers the transient superpod. J pod was sighted alone recently in the Puget Sound, which raises some concerns among researchers. The local superpod (J,K, and L together) was already sighted this year, which is earlier than normal and may or may not be related to the transient activity. Between the dipping numbers within the local whales, their dwindling food source, leaching toxics, and a potential new threat within their own species this could be a telling year for the local orca’s future in the Puget Sound.
Whale Museum Hotline
Historic Pod Arrivals from the Whale Museum
Comments contact: Lyndasy Gordon firstname.lastname@example.org