A new single-day record has been set as a whopping 72 Bigg’s killer whales were spotted Thursday in the Salish Sea.
Over the course of the day on March 31, 10 different groups of the orcas were reported throughout the region by the Pacific Whale Watch Association.
The whale sighting locations ranged from the Hood Canal in Washington’s Puget Sound, as far north as Campbell River in central Vancouver Island.
The largest group was observed near the northern part of the San Juan Islands, where 18 whales were clustered.
Mark Malleson, a Victoria-based researcher for the Centre for Whale Research, confirmed the new record.
“There have been days in the last decade with around 50 different Bigg’s killer whales reported, maybe 60,” said Malleson, “but Thursday was certainly the most so far.”
One of the most recognizable whales spotted Thursday was T63 Chainsaw, an adult male born in 1978.
Chainsaw, known for its jagged dorsal fin, and its mother, T65 Whidbey, were seen near the American border in Haro Strait.
Bigg’s killer whales are named as such as they hunt marine mammals. The species is currently thriving given the abundance of seals and sea lions in the region.