A pod of killer whales paid a visit to Vancouver’s shoreline Monday, giving a rare treat to tourists walking the Stanley Park Seawall.
The transient orcas were spotted in Burrard Inlet around noon, and crowds of people flocked to take in the breathtaking sight.
The Vancouver Aquarium said there were five killer whales from T65A pod, and they likely approached the shore to hunt prey.
“That group included one yearling calf, so we’re really excited,” said Tessa Danelesko of the B.C. Cetaceans Sightings Network.
Transient orcas, sometimes known as Bigg’s killer whales, feed on marine mammals such as seals and sea lions, while resident orcas feed on salmon and other fish.
Killer whales have only been spotted that close to Vancouver a handful of times in recent years, and the aquarium said each occasion is an opportunity to gather valuable information on their behaviour.
Coincidentally, Monday’s sighting took place hours after the release of the aquarium’s new app for reporting cetacean sightings.
The free WhaleReport app, which can be used on smartphones or tablets, allows people to submit sightings of whales, dolphins, porpoises and sea turtles, which in turn helps scientists develop conservation measures to protect them.
“It takes a quick few seconds,” Danelesko said. “You can take a photo with your phone, use the GPS on your phone, and report what you’re seeing and help with conservation-based research.”
To learn more about the WhaleReport app, visit the Vancouver Aquarium website.