A Post-Kill Visit from the T046C Matriline -17/9/15

Wild World! Yes, that’s intestine draped off the dorsal fin of an Orca – most likely that of a Pacific Harbour Seal. Photos from today when aboard as biologist for Stubbs Island Whale Watching Vancouver Island.


We chanced upon female T046C with two of her calves after they had made a kill. Photos included here show mother T046C with a chunk of prey in her mouth (hey, the mammal-eating ecotype of Orca need to feed their babies too!) and 2014 calf (T046C) taking a couple of swipes at a Common Murre with his/her tail. The bird got away!

T046C right and T046C1 left
T046C on the right and T046C1 on the left
T046C3 whacking at common murre
Calf T046C3 (born 2014) whacking at a Common Murre with his/her tail. See the bird? This is most likely play behaviour on the part of the Orca, likely a very effective way to learn to manipulate and target prey. For more on Transient / Bigg’s Orca harassing birds see http://themarinedetective.com/2012/01/15/fins-verses-feathers-transient-killer-whales-harass-rhinoceros-auklets/

The T046C matriline  has a family member that received quite a bit of attention. T046C’s 2009 calf is “Sam” who was rescued by researchers in 2013 when he ended up isolated in a shallow bay.  See here http://killerwhale.vanaqua.org/document.doc?id=139. Sam was not with his mother and siblings today but Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) researcher Jared Towers informed us that he was sighted with them a few days ago but joined with another group of mammal-eating Orca that were in the area that day as well.

T046C and T046C3
T046C and T046C3





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.