Johnstone Strait, British Columbia, Canada
Also known as the "killer whale," the orca that once was feared and persecuted is now among the best known and loved of cetaceans. Cetaceans include all the world's whales, dolphins, and porpoises. The orca is the largest member of the dolphin family.
Orcas are found throughout the world, from high latitude, icy oceans to warmer tropical waters. Within this cosmopolitan range, specialized subpopulations have adapted to live off the resources within their home area. These orca in BC feed mainly on salmon.
Orca are boldly marked in contrasting black and white patterns. Males like this one are larger than females and may reach lengths of 30 feet weights of 6. Their dorsal fin can reach a height of 6 feet! Females attain maximum lengths of 26 feet and weigh about 4.2 tons. Researchers photograph the markings on fins & bodies to recognize individuals. The population of resident orca in BC & Alaska are led by a matriarch and each pod may contain a mature bull, like this one. The pods are highly communicative, whistling & clicking to one another as they swim through the blue coastal waters.