A pod of four transient killer whales was spotted in False Creek in Vancouver on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Andrea England, she and her husband were in a sailboat at anchor at around 2:45 p.m. when they saw the group heading out of False Creek toward Granville Island. It’s not known if they had entered as far as Science World.
There are two types of killer whales in B.C. waterways: the transient and the southern resident. The 74-strong population of southern resident killer whales live in the Salish Sea, are endangered and feed solely on Chinook salmon. There are about 500 transients and they roam from the Puget Sound to Alaska. They eat seals and are considered threatened, but not endangered.
Southern residents tend to have a narrower jaw than the transients, and their dorsal fins are floppy and rounded, while the transients are erect.
Jessica Torode, manager of the B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network, said she recognized one of the group, a male they call T-124C.
“They were likely going into False Creek to forage, looking for seals,” she said. “It’s pupping season and there’s lots of seals in the area but it doesn’t look like it was a successful hunt.”
“T-124C is a transient male we often see on his own, or partnered with another lone transient male. I am speculating that he was with members of his family group today. His mom and siblings. He has come into Burrard Inlet before and likes this area quite a bit.”
Torode said she saw the group swimming towards the waters off Point Grey at about 4 p.m.
She said a killer whale had never attacked and killed a human in the wild.