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Southern Resident Orca Whales

The Southern Resident Orca Whales reside on southeast shores of Vancouver Island. They are home to at least 78 orca whales who travel here every spring. The southern resident orca whales spend six to seven months a year in the protected waters of Haro Strait, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Georgia Strait near the Fraser River.

These whales constitute a large extended family comprised of three distinct pods: J, K, and L. Subpods are formed within each of these three pods, all of which center around older females such as grandmothers or great-grandmothers. Male and female offspring remain close to their mothers for life.

As with Orca Whales worldwide, the southern resident orcas whales use echolocation to find their prey and a series of unique vocalizations for communication. These vocalizations are not heard by any other killer whales around the world.

J pod – 24, K Pod- 19 and L Pod – 35. J Pod – the most likely group to appear year round in the Salish Sea. J pod has two mature bull males, J26 and J27. K Pod – The smallest of the 3 pods in the community. K12 and K13 are the oldest member of the pod, both estimated at 45 years old. The three mature bulls in K pod are K21, K26 and K25. L Pod – The largest of the 3 pods in the community. The mature bulls in the group are L41, L84, L85, L87 and L88. L87 has shuffled around between all three pods after his mother died. This behaviour had never been seen before. He has been traveling with J pod since 2010.

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