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KILLER WHALES

Killer whales are the worlds most abundent mammal spiecies, next to humans. They live in all oceans around the world but their largest numbers are in the Arctic, Antarctic, and other cold water areas. They can be often be spotted off the coast British Columbia, Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, California, and Baja California. But sightings on the east coast of North America are more rare.



The Orca can also be seen in warm water areas such as Hawaii, Australia, the Galapagos Islands, the Bahamas, and the Gulf of Mexico. Such sightings are rare, but show that this creature lives everywhere. They have also been seen in fresh water rivers around the world such as the Rhine, the Thames, and the Elbe. One even traveled some 177 km up the Columbia River to eat fish.

 













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Although killer whales can be found in both the open ocean and coastal waters, they primarily inhabit the continental shelf in waters less than 200 m (656 ft.) deep. In cold water areas, their distribution is limited by seasonal pack ice. In eastern Canada, killer whale movements are often a response to seal and rorqual whale migrations, while northeastern Atlantic killer whales seem to follow herring. In the Bering, Chukchi, and Beaufort seas, killer whales make considerable seasonal movements in response to the advance and retreat of the pack ice.

No one knows how many Killer Whales there are in the wild. But, we know some regional groups of killer whale populations. In southeastern Alaska the population is at about 250. The population around Prince William Sound, western Alaska/Bering Sea, and British Columbia/Puget Sound by Vancouver Island are believed to be around 300 for each area. Population estimates in the Antarctic range from 70,000 to 180,000. With so many killer whales in the wild they are not an endagered species.

Killer whales live tribal social groups called pods. Pods can be from 5 to about 30 individual whales. Pod sizes may change with different geographic locations; off Alaska and Antarctica, groups of more than 100 animals have been seen. Pods usually consist of males, females, and calves of varying ages. Females and baby whales swim in the center of the pod, while adult males swim at the wings.



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