Southern Resident Killer Whales

March 8, 2019
By: 
Erin Edwards

It seems with each passing day we are starting to see more promising signs of Spring – longer days, warmer weather and wonderful sunshine – all which signify the upcoming return of the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) to the protected inshore waters of the Salish Sea. It is pretty unlikely that you have not heard about the SRKW’s, but as endangered species these magnificent creatures are always worth a conversation.

The SRKW’s (also called orcas/Orcinus orca) are a large extended family, or clan, comprised of three pods: J, K, and L pods that inhabit the waters off the rugged coast of the Pacific Northwest. At times, these pods will join to create large groups, called “super pods.” SRKW’s are highly social animals and live in distinct family groups called matrilines. Matrilines are usually led by the oldest female family member and are made up of her offspring, and the offspring of her daughters. Both male and female SRKW’s will stay with their family group for life.

This wonderfully animated TED-Ed video takes a look inside the killer whale matriarchy, as well as some of the dangers threatening their survival – check it out here!