Killer whales spotted in Vancouver harbour searching out seals: Ocean Wise

VANCOUVER — Several killer whales have been hanging out in Vancouver's harbour, entertaining onlookers and feeding on seals, sea lions and other cetaceans.

Dr. Lance Barrett-Lennard, director of Marine Mammal Research at Ocean Wise, says the predators called Bigg's killer whales are discovering hotspots with an abundance of harbour seals and Vancouver's harbour may be one of those areas.

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The whales have been spotted in the harbour twice, and Barrett-Lennard's research team has identified a group of five that came in on Tuesday as being a matriarch and her four offspring, between two and 18 years old.

The pod that visited the harbour last week was also a mother travelling with three sons born between 1984 and 1997.

The researchers are able to identify each killer whale by the distinctive dorsal fins and white saddle patches on their backs.

Bigg's whales, also known as transients, are still listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act but the population is recovering with about 300 animals, in contrast to southern residents, which feed mostly on chinook salmon.

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