We had an incredible day on April 17th with 19 identified killer whales! We spent time with the CA27s, CA10, the CA140Bs, and the CA23s. They were traveling slowly, so we got some great looks at these whales!
CA27 is a traveler and not frequently encountered in Monterey Bay. She ventured with CA18, CA20, and CA54 to Glacier Bay in 1989: the only time any of our transients have been confirmed in Alaska. All but CA18 (deceased by then) were seen off Washington in 1995. She is a prolific mom with at least 6 offspring! Her firstborn child CA27A is likely around 30 years old; her age is uncertain, as we can go multiple years between encounters with this family. She may have a new calf but we cannot yet confirm this since other killer whales often babysit for moms—we need additional sightings to confirm these babies’ mothers. Researchers generally wait for three different encounters to look at the closest associations before confirming likely moms.
CA27C is likely around 20 years old, so just reaching physical maturity. His dorsal fin is a bit wavy and his saddle is atypically narrow for a Bigg's transient.
CA10 was first seen in Monterey Bay in 1984. He was an adult male then, which most likely makes him one of our oldest males—possibly over 50 years old! He used to be seen with the adult male CA11, who hasn’t been around for a while. CA10 has been with the CA23s for many years now, and he is still usually with CA23 and one or more of her grandkids. He has a very distinctive dorsal fin with multiple nicks, including one at the tip—he is one of our most easily identifiable males! CA10 was likely adopted into CA23's family as he was not seen with her in our early study years, thus he is most likely not a close relative.
The young whale CA23A2 used to travel with family, but in recent times has most often been seen with the CA140Bs.
CA23A2’s mother has not been seen since 2018, and therefore has most likely died. CA23A2 may be in the process of being adopted into CA140B Louise's family.
CA23, first seen in 1986, is CA23A2’s grandmother, making this sighting a “family reunion” of sorts!