9 days ago
Do you know what orcas eat? Here in British Columbia, where I photographed these three beautiful animals last week, we have two types of orcas: Our beloved Resident orcas, which live year round in our inland or nearby coastal waters. They feed almost exclusively on chinook salmon, and that is why the protection of herring is so important to their survival. Pacific herring is the basis for the food web that supports the salmon and killer whales and most of the other mammals, sea birds and creatures who, with us, call this place home. Eighty per cent of the chinook salmon’s diet is herring, and over 80 per cent of the southern resident killer whales’ diet is chinook. It doesn’t take a scientist to make the important link between herring and killer whales.
A second group, known as “transients,” feeds only on marine mammals. That’s what this pod was doing when we encountered them last week. They had just stalked and killed a California sea lion and they were feeling satieted, happy and curious. Transient orcas move north and south along the coast from Southeast Alaska and British Columbia as far south as Southern California, but they frequently make forays into the Salish Sea, where we are lucky to routinely encounter them.
Local residents are asking the government to shut down the herring fishery, which is about to start so that we can give our resident orcas a chance to recover from the steady decline they have experienced in the last few years. If you want to support the survival of orcas, salmon and foundation fish, head to the link on my bio and sign the petition. #BigLittleFish #ProtectHerring
With @sealegacy And @pacificwild #ConservationHornbyIsland #associationofdenmanislandmarinestewards at Salish Sea