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CANADA | Wildlife

Dolphins, killer whales spotted for first time in BC waters


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Monday, April 23, 2018, 2:49 PM - In July 2017, researchers from Halpin Wildlife Research and Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans spotted a group of about 200 bottlenose dolphins and 70 false killer whales swimming off the west coast of northern Vancouver Island.

The three experts involved believe it's the "northernmost" sighting ever recorded for the dolphins and the first offshore report of false killer whales in B.C.

"To see the two species traveling together and interacting was quite special and rare," researcher Luke Halpin says in a statement.

"It is known that common bottlenose dolphins and false killer whales seek each other out and interact, but the purpose of the interactions is unclear.”

The findings were published in a study released this month in Marine Biodiversity Records.

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Both species typically frequent warmer waters in the eastern North Pacific. The study suggests that a warming trend in the waters around B.C. may have encouraged the dolphins and whales to swim farther north than usual.

“Since 2014 I have documented several warm-water species: common bottlenose dolphins, a swordfish and a loggerhead turtle in British Columbian waters," Halpin says.

"With marine waters increasingly warming up we can expect to see more typically warm-water species in the northeastern Pacific.”

Source: Marine Biodiversity Record

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