Done Footage Of Endangered Killer Whales
American biologists along with the Vancouver Aquarium have now captured captivating images of the endangered species of Puget Sound orcas whales using state-of-the-art drones. The thousands of aquatic images of the killer whales show that they are now doing well, and even several of them are pregnant. The drone expedition near the San Juan Islands, Washington captured striking images of all the 81 members of the diminutive population of the orcas. It appears that the orcas population is in good shape this year.
With five new orcas calves born in the last 12 months, this means that their feeding has been excellent. Several also appeared to be pregnant, but the researchers said that they couldn’t confirm the number until they finalize the analysis. Some of the photographs revealed strong family ties between the orcas, and one instance included a newborn nursing with its mother and other of two male orcas supplying them with Salmons.
“We’re really answering a simple question. Are these killer whales getting enough to eat?” said John Durban, a marine mammal biologist with NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California.
In another case, the scientists captured photographs of a pregnant orca and later on one with a newborn. The whole idea is meant to appraise the orcas over time to ascertain how thin or fat they become in good or bad seasons for salmon. The southern killer whales naturally eat Chinook salmon, but a decline in prey, and disturbance and contaminants from vessel traffic, are the major reasons for the animal’s decline.
The researchers kept the UAV at least 90 feet above the whales at all times to avoid disturbing them. In addition, they were operating under research permits from NOAA Fisheries and flight authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration when in U.S. waters, and from Fisheries and Oceans Canada with flight authorization from Transport Canada when in Canadian waters.