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The False Killer Whales Return!

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Animal Updates | Mammals | Education | Whale Watching

Thursday, April 28, 2016


The False Killer Whales Return!
One of the false killer whales from our very recent sightings surfacing near the boat.  | Erik Combs

I love the scientific name of these whales; Pseudorca, because it sounds like they are just phony killer whale or faux-orca. In fact, the only reason they are named ‘false’ killer whales is because their skulls resemble those of a killer whale and it has nothing to do with their actual physical likeness. Anyways, we were very fortunate to come across a pod of about 30 of these gentle toothed whales during one of our whale watching tours last week and those on board had a once in a lifetime opportunity to see them in the wild. Though they are called whales (and are toothed whales), when it comes down to it, they are members of the oceanic dolphin family, and a big member at that. They can reach lengths of 20 feet long and can weigh around 5,000 lbs, that’s a big dolphin! They have rounded heads and long, black sleek bodies. Our team and guests got to see them breaching, playing, and even a few cow/calf pairs. One of our Senior Education Associates, Amanda, that was on the boat that day shared a video with us of these whales diving under the boat and making high-pitched whistles! Erik Combs from Harbor Breeze was on-board and captured some fantastic photos for you all to see!

The gray whales have also exploded in numbers! Out of nowhere, just as we were waiting for, dozens of female whales with their very young calves have been passing by our coast and heading back up to Alaska. The American Cetacean Society’s Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project in Palos Verdes have now counted 2,167 ‘northbounders’ with 164 of those being little babies! Our whale watch naturalist crew keep coming back with crazy numbers like “we saw 8 cow/calf pairs in one trip today!” That’s amazing.

I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous day on the water on Friday, April 22nd, and even though it was a little bumpy, we saw SO much life! I was lucky enough to get see a cow/calf/escort group of gray whales, a HUGE blue whale, a fin whale, AND a large nursery pod of common dolphins having a feeding frenzy competing for food with terns and California sea lions; it was a great day! The blue that we saw was only the 3rd that we have seen in Long Beach this year! I hope this means they are all coming soon, shortly after the gray whale season ends.

Does this sound like a good time? Well come on out on a whale watching adventure, or even save some moola and purchase a bundle package with an Aquarium of the Pacific ticket AND a whale watch tour!

Thanks for reading.

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