© Five Star Whale Watching/ Katie Smith. Image —A pod of Bigg’s Orca near the coast of San Juan Island
Bigg’s Orca, Mouflon Sheep, Sitka Deer and Harbour Seals
We began our afternoon trip today leaving the Victoria Harbour heading eastward towards San Juan Island.
Near the coast of San Juan Island we encounter a group of Bigg’s Orca on the hunt for seals! These animals, also know as Transient Orca, are the marine mammal eating ecotype of orca and feed on seals, sea lions and other whales unlike the Southern Resident Orca that feed on fish, over 85% percent of which are Chinook Salmon. This group was identified by their saddle patches, dorsal fins and their scars to be the T90’s and T87. The T90’s are made up of a 38 yr old mother and her offspring while T87 is a 56 yr old male whose mother has passed away now and he has now become adopted by this family, which is a great example of how important social structure is to these animals!
On our way back we also stopped by Spieden Island where we got to see some of the Mouflon Sheep and Sitka Deer that live on this island. These sheep that live here were brought to the island by humans originally and are not native.
It was a great trip out on the Salish Sea and it was great to see this Bigg’s orca family out on the hunt.