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Orcas | A-Pod

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A-Pod is a family of six orcas that spent much of July and August 2002 near the shore of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. The year 2002 saw more Avalon Peninsula orca sightings than ever before and when photographs were available to examine, it was always these same Pod A individuals. Orca sightings off the Avalon continued until November 24, 2002 when a group (possibly A-Pod) was spotted off Cape Race.

During the July 25 encounter when all of these photos were taken, we also noted some interesting behaviors among the two dozen humpbacks in the vicinity of these orcas — almost everyone did multiple breaches or loud lob-tailing displays just prior to the orcas swimming into the area. Perhaps the humpbacks were advertising that they were strong and healthy in order to discourage the orcas from approaching. We are documenting humpback tails with scars from orca bites on this website so there are obviously times when orcas will do more than encourage breaches and other loud displays.

Interestingly, two minke whales came within 100 m (100 yd) of some of these orcas during the time the Wildland Tours Whale Study Week group was observing the group. The relationship between minkes and orcas is difficult to understand. Whale researchers and fishermen here have observed orcas killing or harassing minkes, humpbacks and other whales. This contrasts with Dr. Jon Lien's Red Bay, Labrador observation in the spring of 2002 where he saw a single orca and a single minke feeding cooperatively… driving herring towards one another.


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