KILLER WHALES, ORCINUS ORCA, IN THE SOUTHEASTERN BERING SEA: RECENT SIGHTINGS andPREDATION ON OTHER MARINE MAMMALS

Authors


ABSTRACT

An unusual number of killer whales appeared in inshore waters of the southeastern Bering Sea in summer 1989 and 1990. Multiple sightings occurred in Bristol and Kuskokwim bays where killer whales had been seen only rarely in previous years. Three animals became stranded on mud flats in Kuskokwim Bay but were able to free themselves on a high tide. Killer whales were observed interacting with salmon, harbor seals, Steller sea lions, walruses, and beluga whales. Detailed observations were made of killer whales attacking belugas in the Naknek River. Local conditions and behavioral adaptations may reduce the susceptibility of belugas to killer whale predation. Continued killer whale activity in this area would be unlikely to affect fish resources, but might have some influence on beluga whales.

Ancillary