The evening was almost too perfect. The sun finally appeared after days of rain and it was setting over the Pacific. Residents and visitors who took advantage of the harbour views while on a stroll or sipping a bevy on the patio were treated to a family of killer whales who pierced the skyline with their dorsal fins.
Caitlin Birdsall, who works for the Vancouver Aquarium in Prince Rupert, spotted the killer whales Tuesday, April 19 in Tuck Inlet.
She said that family has five members and they are northern residents who spend most of their time between northern Vancouver Island and South East Alaska. The eldest female is named Sonora, the big male in that group is her oldest son, known as Surf, born in 1996, then there are three more offspring of unknown sex, Current, Chameleon and Albion.
That particular family of killer whales has been in the harbour several times in the past winter and spring. Bigg’s, or transient killer whales also frequent the area. They feed on seals and porpoises and other marine mammals, while the family seen last week are fish-eaters and mainly eat salmon.
Birdsall urges the public to report when they see killer whales either through www.wildwhales.org, via the App called WhaleReport, or call 1-866-I SAW ONE.
She also asks that residents follow “Be Whale Wise” guidelines and to slow down, stay 100m or more away and don’t park in their path.
“Vessel disturbance is a major threat for these animals and we can all play a part is reducing this impact,” she said.