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Kajakfahren Mit Walen

KAYAKING WITH KILLER WHALES

There is no better place in the world to kayak with killer whales, also known as orcas, than Johnstone Strait off the northeastern corner of Vancouver Island. This area is recognized as one of the most predictable places in the world to see these great marine mammals and Kingfisher's Orca Waters Base Camp is located right in the heart of these whale rich waters. To learn more about British Columbia's killer whales continue reading below. To learn more about our Orca Waters Base Camp kayak tour use the menu above.

The killer whales found in British Columbia's waters do not belong to one single group. In fact there are three distinct groups, or ecotypes, of killer whales in British Columbia: resident killer whales, transient killer whales, and offshore killer whales. Each group has its own unique diet, social behaviour, hunting strategies, and genetics.

Resident killer whales feed exclusively on fish, and chinook salmon make up the majority of their diet. Transient killer whales feed on marine mammals and harbour seals are their main prey but they will also prey on dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, and baleen whales. Offshore killer whales are the least understood of BC's killer whale and are believed to feed primarily on sharks.

The unique prey preferences of each killer whale ecotype shapes each ecotypes' social behaviours and hunting strategies. It is possible to see both resident and transient killer whales on our kayak tours and see these different behaviours and strategies first hand. Our kayak guides inform and educate our guests about these differences throughout the kayak tour.

BC's resident killer whales consist of two distinct populations, the northern resident killer whales and the southern resident killer whales. The southern residents are mostly seen off the south end of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands during the summer while the northern residents are primarily seen around northern Vancouver Island and even further north with the most reliable sightings being in Johnstone Strait and the surrounding waters during the summer. On our kayak tours it is primarily the northern residents that we see. While there is some geographical overlap in the two populations they are rarely seen in the same area at the same time and they have not been seen to interact with each other.

The terms resident, transient, and offshore were coined in the 1970s and 1980s when BC's killer whales were first recognized to have distinct types and populations. These terms do not necessarily reflect today's current knowledge of killer whales and it is possible new terms may be used soon to better reflect our current knowledge and understanding of these unique populations and ecotypes.

To learn more about the BC's killer whales and to adopt a killer whale to help fund research visit the British Columbia Wild Killer Whale Adoption Program.

Responsible viewing of killer whales (orcas) and all wildlife is paramount on all of our kayak tours. We follow the Be Whale Wise Marine Mammal viewing guidelines and are founding members of the North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association.

It is our belief that responsible whale watching and wildlife viewing starts with having realistic expectations, this is why you will not see photos on our website of killer whales right next to kayaks. We follow whale watching and wildlife viewing protocols that treat the animals with respect, and work toward minimizing our impacts on their behaviour. This includes keeping a respectable distance, being conscious of their travel patterns, and monitoring their behaviour for signs of stress.

Some tour operators show imagery of killer whales (orcas) in close proximity to their guests, closer than the Be Whale Wise guidelines. While this may occur at the whim of the animals, please don’t expect that this is a regular occurrence. They are wild creatures and need their space.



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Visit Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures' main website to learn more about all our kayak tours
or call us at 1-866-546-4347 (North America only) or 1-250-956-4617 (International)

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