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It’s September, so you know what that means…time for socializing and superpods!

Every year in September, a massive superpod of multiple pods of Alaskan resident orcas gathers in Montague Strait. Members of AJ (now numbering 60 individuals!), AK, AB, and AE pods were all in the Strait yesterday participating in a flurry of activities.

Sometimes they’re breeding, sometimes they’re socializing, and sometimes they’re feeding! A lot of people have reported seeing whales mating this time of year, but it’s almost always two males socializing and bonding with their penises extended (see third photo). Mating between females and males happens underwater where we cannot observe them.

All photos by NGOS.


 ID: PTN-016    Born: July 2007

First seen: 2007    Last seen: 2011

Issy was the first of Maga's calves that PNOR were around to document from start.

When s/he was only a year old s/he was seen around the shallow waters for the first time, and in the picture above, s/he’s only one and a half year old and already trying the stranding technique. unfortunately, s/he never got old enough to learn it properly, as s/he was last seen in 2011. 

The calf was named after the fauna ranger Isabel Peinecura, who was the person who first spotted IssyIssy was named in the beginning of 2008, when s/he was less than one year old, which is very odd for PNOR. Usually, they wait a few years with name and ID number, as the risk of calves passing away during their first years is pretty high, and usually a calf like this would not have been named before it disappeared in 2011, and probably just be known as Maga's lost -07 calf, but it seems like PNOR made exceptions during their first years, and named calves earlier. However the case, we know that this calf did end up with both a name and a ID number! Even though the possibly female looking name, it was never known what gender Issy was.










You know the words.

You’ve seen it at least 5 times.

Just play.

Dooooo iiiiiit




literally my reaction.


I got this song stuck in my head a few weeks ago at work and was walking around humming it all day and I’m pretty sure my boss thinks I’m completely insane.

I get it as soon as I hear that little “wooww” at the beginning 




(Source: redrobinrising)




On April 23rd 2012, the Far East Russian Project revealed they’d successfully filmed “Iceberg” an all-white, mature bull orca previously seen in 2010 off the coast of Kamchatka Peninsula (image #8). Iceberg was seen cavorting with a group of roughly 10-15 other whales. It’s unknown if he’s a true albino, as researchers haven’t been able to get close enough to tell, but he seemed healthy and well-adjusted to life within the pod.

However, this was not the first time a white killer whale was seen.

In 2000 a University of Washington seabird ecologist photographed a white orca off the Aleutian islands. Eight years later, scientists photographed the young male again. It was thought that it this was Iceberg, but upon closer inspection, the Far East Russian Orca Project was able to confirm that this was a different whale all together. While he shared the milky-white color of his famous Russian counterpart, this orca had a unique cookie-cutter shark bite near its blowhole and a prominent rake scar on the dorsal (image #7). He isn’t considered an albino due to his darker pigmentation, but like Iceberg, he is a healthy and mature male and travels in a normal pod that’s made of about 12 other individuals.

Iceberg isn’t even the only white orca in Russia anymore, there are several others swimming in the same waters. FEROP scientists discovered a white calf in 2008. Dubbed “Lemon,” he’s grown into a healthy juvenile (images #4, #5, and #6) under the protective gaze of his podmates – some of whom are not entirely comfortable with the research team’s presence. There’s even a cream-colored adult female that was seen in 2009-2010 (image #3). According to the following statement, she’s known as Mama Tanya: “Last year’s white whales - the female Mama Tanya and the male Iceberg - did not honour us with their presence, but the white calf Lemon came, whom we first met in 2008.”

Prior to the recent sightings, there was only a handful of other white orcas spotted - one in 1993 around
St. Lawrence Island and another in 2000/2001 around the central Aleutians.

One of the original white orcas, known as “Alice,” began appearing regularly around Vancouver Island and off the southern coast of British Columbia in the 1940s. In 1950 another white orca (believed to be “Chimo”) was born to this pod, Alice vanished shortly after. Leaving only a single white whale reported in 1950. This whale was photographed by onlookers close to shore in Victoria - revealing a young white orca and a normal colored podmate (image #9). Records of Alice’s pod ceased in the 1960s, but as orcas were being captured for live display in the 1970s the white juvenile reappeared, netted near Victoria with four other members of her family. This white and silver juvenile would later become known as as “Chimo.”

Chimo (image #10) suffered from  what’s known as Chediak-Higashi syndrome, a rare autosomal recessive disorder that both made her beautiful in the eyes of man and made her severely ill. Chediak-Higashi syndrome often affects the nervous and immune systems, as well as altering the color of the animal. Humans, white tigers, cattle, blue Persian cats, blue rats, mice, mink, foxes and orcas can all be affected by this disorder.

Due to her color, many marine parks took an interest in her and she went to the highest bidder - Sealand of the Pacific. Chimo was separated from her mother, Scarredjaw (T3) and was transferred with a normal colored female, known as Knootka. The two newcomers were placed in a tank with the resident male, Haida. They all seemed to get along well, but eventually Knootka became aggressive and would constantly harass Chimo. Chimo developed a skin disease from the constant raking of the more dominant female and Knootka was quickly sold off, with Chimo and Haida remaining at Sealand in hopes they would breed.
Unfortunately, Chimo contracted pneumonia from streptococcal septicemia. She died in November of 1972.

On a December day in 2009 the T-11s were moving south of Victoria on their usual hunt for seals when a silver calf (images #1 and #2) was spotted alongside its mother, T-68. This little calf is very similar to Chimo, and like its famous predecessor, may also suffer from the same syndrome. The condition commonly proves fatal among young animals and I could find no recent reports of this calf. Thankfully for Iceberg, Lemon, Mama Tanya, and the unknown white bull, they aren’t believed to have Chediak-Higashi syndrome; but further genetic tests may be necessary to completely rule it out.

As always, feel free to contact me if you spot an error! :)

Frick, just noticed a typo.
Image #3 is Mama Tanya.
Images #4, #5, #6 are Lemon.


Gender: Male
Pod: A5 (?)
Place of Capture: Pender Harbor, British Columbia, Canada
Date of Capture: December 12, 1969
Age at Capture: Approx. 2 years

On December 12, 1969, a pod of 12 Orcas were captured in Pender Harbor. 6 whales were kept, while the remaining 6 were released.

Three of the whales were soon purchased by Marineland of the Pacific, and likely met the resident whales at the park, Corky and Orky II. The new whales were known as Corky II, Patches, and Kenny.

Soon after their arrival, a new show pool was built. It was small, and could only hold 3 whales, so Kenny was kept in the old tank. Soon, he became the star of the movie “A Whale of a Tale”, playing the part of a whale named “Corky”.

On May 20, 1972, Kenny died after contracting Pneumonia.

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