A preview of the PDF is not available
Photo-identification Catalogue, Population Status, and Distribution of Bigg’s Killer Whales known from Coastal Waters of British Columbia, Canada.
In British Columbia, Bigg’s (transient) killer whales have been opportunistically photo-identified for several decades. This report uses a 61-year archive of photo-identification data from 1958-2018 to provide information on the abundance and distribution of Bigg’s killer whales known from BC. In total, 766 unique individuals were identified in a total of 6277 encounters during this time period. To identify the subset of this population that is most likely to be impacted by human activity due to showing the most fidelity to coastal waters over time, we developed criteria based on rates of occurrence, both overall and during recent years. A total of 206 mature individuals that were alive in 2018 were encountered at least once since 2014 and were documented during at least seven years or 11 or more encounters during the study period. Their offspring and other inferred maternally related kin include an additional 143 individuals. This population subset of 349 individuals has grown at an observed average annual rate of 4.1% since 2012 due to relatively low mortality and the birth of over 100 calves during this time period. Identification images of the dorsal fins, saddle patches, and eyepatches of all of these individuals as well as calves born to date in 2019 are provided. Details on the birth years, sex, maternal ancestry, social cohesion, and distribution of these individuals are also provided, when known.