Scientists are able to identify killer whales as individuals based on their markings, but a recent sighting of killer whales by whale watchers in Monterey Bay has everyone confused. Based on their markings, the whales are known to be from the Pacific Northwest. It is unclear what they are doing so far south.
Nancy Black from the Monterey Bay Whale Watch, says, “they’ve never been seen down here, even with all our efforts all these years.” As a marine biologist who has worked in the area for 32 years, she is surprised that these whales have appeared here.
Black says, “Those killer whales have been identified previously, but up in the Puget Sound area. It’s been many years since we’ve had new whales, new families to the catalog so they just showed up one day out of the blue.”
It is possible that these whales are simply traveling and will return to the Pacific Northwest soon, however, it is a rare trip. Possible reasons for their movement could be a social gathering, following food sources, or mating.
For now, scientists will just continue watching the whales to see what happens next.