Monday, June 12, 2017

6-12-17 The T002Cs - An Extraordinary Look

Monday, June 12th

The T002Cs gave us an extraordinary look into their lives, which are very different than 99% of other killer whale families.
This family has a member, T002C2, who has scoliosis of the spine (information from Center for Whale Research folks). 
This extraordinary look is about how they, as a family, take care of T002C2, how they use the currents to help them get from one location to another.
Why?  Over many days of observations by many people, T002C2 was unable to keep up.  He also did not participate in any 'hunts or kills'...he is not able.
Family members secured the food and then shared it with him.  I had seen this same behavior in 2016, but in 2016 they didn't stay around for the length of time like they did this week.

They used the currents to take them where they wanted to go.  For example, they were traveling down San Juan Channel, and as they had each day, they were moving slowly...I was waiting at Cattle Pass, at the south end of the channel, the tide was about to change to a flood and they would then be going against it.  As soon as it began to change so did the whales...they turned and went back north.  

On the day they came up the west side the tide was ebbing and they were using the back eddies, hugging the shoreline...when the passed Kellett Bluff they lost the back eddy and changed direction, moving south and west across Haro Strait and eventually got into some of the Canadian Gulf Islands which then took them northwest...soon the tide changed to a flood and they continued to move north...

Here's a map of where they traveled around here.  They were last seen heading toward Active Pass going with a flooding current.  Perhaps they continued back to the upper regions of the Inside Passage where they seem to be most often.  But for now, that was the last time this family was seen.  Credit for the locations goes to the many whales watch operators who shared their locations - thanks!
...images of T002C2 that show how curved the spine is on this whale.
...if anyone thinks that any killer whale groups they see are 'just a bunch of whales traveling around'...well, they might want to think again...
...they are much more than that:
-looking out for one another
-and much more...

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