This blog has always been surprised a the messages we receive indicating they had no idea Orcas were apart of UK wildlife and has always tried to get the word out there that they are out there! 

image
(Shetland 17th July 2011 X )

image

(Shetland 27th July 2013 - Mousa (019) X

Don’t fancy that far north?…

image
(Gairloch 22nd July 2013 - Moneypenny and John Coe X )

Now I can’t stand here and say they are a guaranteed sighting they’re a wild animal! One of this blog’s runners lives in the outer hebrides and has never caught a glimpse of these guys- but aren’t they worth the chance? 

To see these guys is a discovery, places like the Hebrides whale and dolphin trust rely on public sightings to create a network of where these guys travel, as do the seawatch foundation  to get the best network of sightings they need whale watchers… they need you.

scottish-orca:

Northern Isles Orca
013

Source: x

scottish-orca:

Northern Isles Orca
Mousa 019
Source: X

scottish-orca:

027 ?? and 032 Busta
x

  1. Camera: Nikon D300
  2. Aperture: f/5
  3. Exposure: 1/1600th
  4. Focal Length: 120mm

scottish-orca:

May 2008 - A group of four orca (027, 034 (Busta) 072 and 073) whom are regularly seen around shetland showed up with a new calf! It appears that 027 is its mother.
This photo of the pod was taken in Bluemull Sound (15/03/08)

  1. Camera: Nikon D300
  2. Aperture: f/9
  3. Exposure: 1/500th
  4. Focal Length: 105mm

scottish-orca:

032 Busta- 2013 Sighting
x

scottish-orca:

Northern Isles Pod
x

scottish-orca:

032 Busta and ?? Northern Isles Pod
x

John Coe Moneypenny and Lulu - pbharmony on flickr

scottish-orca:

The link between Icelandic and Northern Isles Pods- and what that might mean for Keiko

A theory by darling-taima and stumpytheorca
Pictured above is left Keiko and right 013.
Keiko was captured off Reyðarfjörður, Iceland. There is no documentation of when this capture was due to ‘hiding’, a common practise so that capture limits would not be gone over. You probably know this already so why are we telling you again? Well…

In finding out about the Northern Isles orca range, we were surprised to find they have quite a large range. 8 individuals from the Pod were sighted in Icelandic waters near Reyðarfjörður- where Keiko was captured- and Vestmannaeyjar- where Keiko’s sea pen was located. The study was conducted around the times he was there. 

image

In this graph you can see the 8 individuals (blue diamonds) from the Northern Isles (Yellow triangles) who have links and associate both with East Icelandic Orca (red cubes) and some Vestmannaejar orca (green triangles).

image
To go with the above graph, it is possible more northern isles orca were/are present in iceland but to make results fair only left side photos are used. 

Work was done to try and find Keiko’s family in 1999-2001. Two former SeaWorld trainers were hired to do fieldwork on ID-ing, biopsies on wild orca DNA samples gathered and studying their dialect, but no matches were found. DNA matches between some members of icelandic pods and northern isles have also been found to contain mostly the same makeup. Meaning a divergence between populations could be less than 15 generations back.

But back to Keiko. He only had ‘walks’ out of his bay pen during the summer months where he interacted with wild orca during summer of 2001. In the summer of 2002, Keiko left the bay pen for 15 days and he was observed around Iceland before returning to the pen for one last time on July 8th then swam back out. He then began his 1,000 mile journey across the North Atlantic.

image

This is Keiko’s line of travel (dots) and the NI orca confirmed range underneath in areas A,B,C,D and E.  Circled are the areas thought to contain schools of herring. 

What if Keiko’s matriarch line was never found by researchers because they were only there for a few short months of the year (September- November and in such small numbers)? Northern Isles orca spend their summer months in the Northern Isles hunting seals, could this be why Keiko took off east to Norway trying to find his home? He was captured at 2-4 years old, not leaving much to remember and he would not have migrated the route in over 22 years. It is possible that he only remembered the vague direction hence his journey to Norway.


image

And in regards to his possible family? Well, we also have a theory for this too! This is 012. There have been confirmed sightings of her in 1995/2007 off the coast of Iceland. She is almost always sighted with 013 (left top photo) - whom due to the son never leaving the mother’s side, it is highly possible they are related. The rest of their pod with confirmed sightings in Iceland are  019 (Mousa) 021, 062 (Hulk).

012 could possibly be Keiko’s mother/grandmother/sister, and 013 a relation as well. 

Sources:

1  2  3  4   6  7  8  9 10

Image Sources:
Keiko   013
please note this guys, this is just a fun theory- it is heavily researched and a lot of co-incidences cropped up hence this very long post and sources, but please don’t take it for fact!