Updated: September 11, 2000
First Time in 25 Years Northern Residents Seen in San Juans
For the first time since the orcas of the Pacific Northwest have been studied, 50 to 60 members of the Northern Resident Community were spotted in the San Juan Islands last weekend. The Northern Residents spend their summers east of Vancouver Island and do not normally venture into the territory of the Southern Residents.
According to The Center for Whale Research on San Juan Island, members of C, D, H and I pods showed up the morning of Friday, September 8, on the west side of San Juan Island. They remained near the islands on Saturday, becoming key attractions for whale-watching boats. Sunday they headed out the Straits of Juan de Fuca and, as of Monday morning, have not been seen.
Meanwhile, the Southern Resident Community of orcas has not been spotted in a month. Those whales are typically seen on a fairly regular basis at this time of year.
While researchers at The Whale Museum and the Center for Whale Research have some hypotheses as to why the Northerns appeared in the Southerns' territory and why the Southerns have not been seen lately, they say it is too soon to tell what such behavior means.