Killer whales in the Aleutian Islands

We also conduct research on killer whales in waters off western Alaska, specifically around the Alaska Peninsula, Aleutian Islands and the Bering Sea. Research includes:

 

Gray whale killers: We study an aggregation of transient killer whales that gather each year in May/June to prey on gray whale calves as they migrate northwards with their mothers around the Alaska Peninsula into the Bering Sea. This aggregation likely consumes a significant portion of the total calf production of the gray whale population in the eastern North Pacific. See Killer Whales Earn Their Name.

                                Photo: Killer whale and gray whale at False Pass

Predation on northern Fur Seals: Later in the summer, northern fur seals are a significant component of the diet for transient killer whales, and we have studied this predatory interaction in the eastern Aleutian Islands and in the Bering Sea around the Pribilof Islands.

Resident killer whales along the Aleutian chain: Our photo-identification studies have revealed one of the world’s largest population of killer whales, specifically fish-eating Resident killer whales that forage in the productive waters around the Aleutian Islands. These whales interact and compete with some of the largest commercial fisheries in US waters.

Photo: Killer whale and trawler

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