Biggs Killer Whales

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In this study I want to tag Biggs killer whales (Orcinus orca), also known as mammal eating or transient killer whales, in the mid-Salish sea. Biggs killer whales are named after Michael Bigg, a Canadian marine biologist who is considered the founder of killer whale research (Paterson, 2002). Bigg was the first scientist to look at the differences between killer whales that preyed on fish and stayed in one home range all year and those that preyed on mammals and live in larger unknown ranges. It is believed these two ecotypes diverged roughly 700,000 years ago which helps explain the differences in life history strategies (Hildering, 2013). Biggs would go on to discover the distinct cultures that exist in killer whales as well as how to identify …show more content…
Over the next 40 years more than 150 orcas would be captured for aquariums all over the world and many attempts would be made to breed in captivity with little success (Garrett, 2018). Jump forward to 2018 and the public’s perception has once again changed, now in love with these animals, there is a large public outcry about keeping killer whales in captivity. With this change killer whales began to attract thousands of people every year to the Puget sound and are seen as mascots for the region bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue yearly from tourism and whale watching (“The Association”, 2017). However, even with the public’s attention there is still very little known about Biggs killer whales. It is known they travel in smaller sized pods, have entirely different dialects from the resident pods yet no one really knows where they go. When you also take into consideration the increase in shipping traffic, pollution and habitat loss occurring alongside the rapid human population increase in the Puget sound it makes management of Biggs killer whales very difficult. The increase of ship traffic has already been shown to cause changes in vocalizations in resident killer whales (Erbe, 2002).Its quite possible even more ship noise could cause issues with eco-location hunting and intraspecies communication (Holt, 2009). There is also a very real issue with pollution in the Puget sound, killer whales are on the top of the marine food web, so they accumulate a large amount of POP’s in their blubber. However, everything we know about POPs in killer whales has come from resident killer whales who theoretically have a lower number of POPs than Biggs killer whales (Brown, 2018). Biggs killer whales prey on seals which are much higher on the food web than fish, therefore, having a

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