Whale, Dolphin or Porpoise Sightings from our Coastal waterways in British Columbia. We monitor and publish numbers, species, sightings and behaviour of Cetaceans to raise public awareness, respect and enthusiasm for the protection of our coastal wildlife and marine ecosystems.
Southern Resident Orca J-Pod, Unidentified Killer Whales, Humpback Whale and Dead Dall's Porpoise
majority of activity since our last update has been surrounding J32
'Rhapsody' the pregnant Southern Resident Orca and her calf found
dead by Bates Beach, just above Comox on Dec. 4th. Unfortunately we
are not sure if the Unidentified Killer Whales by Powell River were
some of the Southern Resident population or Transient Bigg's Killer
Whales (most likely) passing through. Reports of at least one
Humpback Whale in the Lund area have also dwindled since December
initial necropsy reports of J32 and her calf indicate that: the calf
appeared to be full term, the calf was female and predeceased her. It
appears that since the calf predeceased J32 she could not expel the
fetus thereby causing a great amount of toxicity in her body leading
to her death. Her blubber layer was also thinner than expected
causing concern about her overall health possibly causing some health
issues in her ability to deliver the calf. Further tests and results
will take more time. Parts of her have been sent to various locations
for CT scans and testing. It is planned to have her cleaned bones put
back together for display much later. We have included many links
below from news reports and a preliminary necropsy report link. On
our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WhalesDolphinsBC
we have, behind a warning page of graphic content, posted necropsy
photos. Although these photos are not for everyone, they are made
available for purposes of study to those of you interested or
considering Marine Biology.
Henkel, Aboriginal Journeys Whale and Bear Tours
day on the water. Spend the day watching the majority of Jpod booking
it West 5 km off Sooke BC. They were spread out across Juan de Fuca
Strait and traveling at 12 knots. Also had three humpback whales
traveling and socializing in tight formation. Brisk day but nice to
be out on the water.
word of a dead Orca on the beach near Bates hotel tonight I loaded up
my camera gear, tape measure and lights and was off as soon as I
could. Arriving on scene was a surreal experience. I drove right down
a boat launch ramp and as my headlights swung around and she came
into view I was utterly blown away. I first heard reports of a
possibly 10-12ft animal....seeing right away it was full grown I was
amazed. I immediately got my lights set up and went to work taking
photos for ID purpose and documenting everything I could find.
Measurements showed it to be approx 16ft in length. I first thought
still growing it's dorsal)
male until studying the belly longer. Was determined to be a female.
I went through my Transient ID Catalogue, Northern Resident Catalogue
and soon realized we were possibly looking at a Southern Resident
Orca. Thank you to Simon
Towers, of DFO
for the ID's and confirmation. (That
she was J32 'Rhapsody' of the Southern Resident Killer Whales.)
Templeman, Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions
to a resident near the Bates Beach Resort in Royston, several Orca
had been seen offshore at some point during the day. This would
likely be J pod, who are often seen in the Strait of Georgia during
the winter months.
'Rhapsody' – RIP
27, 2014 photo
Templeman, Campbell River Whale and Bear Excursions
am: Three to four Orca northbound off the Powell River Sea Walk.
They're quite tight into shore.
am: Five or six Orca now on the move, and out of sight as observed
from the Westview Harbour. I'd grabbed my camera hoping to get at
least a couple of photos, but they were just too far away now. I only
saw small dorsals, no big males.
Grover, Powell River.
pm: The Humpback whale is still here in Rasmussen Bay today, December
6th. The Sea Lions were by, but not feeding with it today, so far...
am- 10:30 am: This morning the Humpback whale came into Rasmussen Bay
itself (south of the Copeland Islands) and was feeding for quite some
time. I only looked out around 9:30 am and saw it then, along with an
entourage of Stellar Sea Lions, all very active. I had to leave for
town around 10:30 am and they were still feeding back and forth in
heart dropped at the report of a small Orca washed up on the beach in
the San Juan Islands after J32's death. It turned out to be a Dall's
Porpoise and the photos clearly show how they sometimes are mistaken
for small Orca. This animal, it appears may have died of old age,
based on the teeth having been ground down over years of foraging.
The necropsy is being handled in the US and should be started by
December 15th. Cher Renke stood guard and provided photos,
until Ken Balcomb and other researchers could arrive.
MacKay, Whales and Dolphins BC
Ken Balcomb with Dall's Porpoise on South Beach, San Juan Islands
13, 2014 – 2 photos
Renke, Friday Harbour
have very sad news this report with the death of Southern Resident
Orca J32, also known as “Rhapsody.” Rhapsody was just 18 years
old, and was pregnant at the time of her death, a double blow for the
endangered Southern Resident Killer Whale populations.
other whales from the same population, L100 and L53, are thought to
have died sometime this summer, while the calf L120 died two months
ago. The southern resident population now stands at 77 members. We
have several links to news stories concerning J32's death, as well as
some preliminary findings from the necropsy. Please be aware that
some of the photographs taken during the necropsy are extremely
graphic and may be upsetting for some.
not be a Porpoise that lives right in our area of monitoring, but the
Vaquita Porpoise is extremely endangered. This video clip is also
something to consider for our Harbour Porpoise populations; they are
considered "species of special concern" by Species At Risk
Act (SARA). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp3JGzvtdQQ