Southern California breaking news and trends

Pod of orcas moves into Southern California waters, to whale-watchers’ delight (video)

Photo via mrmritter via Flickr Creative Commons

A particular pod of killer whales has been gaining attention lately as it makes the rounds off the Southern California coast, and biologists and sightseers have spotted the animals riding a ship’s wake near Catalina Island, killing a grey whale calf and, perhaps most dramatically, making a big splash off Dana Point.

Seafarers and science writers have been calling attention to the whales’ exploits, and experts say they are certain it’s the same pod, consisting mainly of a “transient” family group known as the CA51s.

Marine biologist Alisa Schulman-Janiger, who can identify the individual animals by sight, says these whales are well known in the Monterey Bay area -- but that lately they seem to be spending more of their time farther south.

In early January, just before their showing off Dana Point, the same whales made a two-day appearance off the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It wasn’t their first time in the region, according to Schulman-Janiger.