Orca pod spotted hunting prey just off Stanley Park
Published Thursday, March 12, 2015 7:24PM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, March 12, 2015 7:40PM PDT
People taking in the views from the Stanley Park Seawall Thursday were treated to an even more breathtaking sight: a pod of killer whales hunting prey just off the shore.
The four orcas were first spotted in Deep Cove before moving into Burrard Inlet, where people walking through the park and paddling kayaks in the water managed to observe the massive predators from a rare vantage point.
It was the third time in four years killer whales have been spotted in the area, according to the Vancouver Aquarium.
“If someone sees one, everyone tends to know about it,” said Chad Nordstrom, a research biologist with the Aquarium.
The pod, which consists of two adults and two juveniles, belongs to B.C.’s transient population. Transients prey on marine mammals, and the group was likely feasting in Burrard Inlet when they were spotted, Nordstrom said.
“They regularly spend a lot of time right close to shore in coastal areas, and our best guess is that they’re hunting harbour seals,” he said.
Transient orcas, sometimes called Bigg’s killer whales, also feed on seals, dolphins, porpoises, and sea lions. Amazing footage captured in Alaska last year showed a pod hunting a sea lion and tossing it metres into the air.
“These are the whales you would see with some of those more acrobatic-type behaviours when chasing prey,” Nordstrom said.
A Vancouver Police Department boat with marine biologists onboard monitored the pod’s journey through the inlet.
For more information on killer whales, visit the Vancouver Aquarium website.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Lisa Rossington