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.


SeaWorld thinks PETA's plea to free the whales is fishy

Baby Killer Whale Born At SeaWorld San Diego

Getty Images/Getty Images

A mother and baby orcas, also called killer whales, swim at Sea World in San Diego.

It's nice when sea life can work together. Exhibit A: Killer whales with shark lawyers.

The attorneys for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are set to face a federal judge on Monday in San Diego on behalf of five orcas at SeaWorld that the animal-rights group wants released on antislavery grounds.

Representation for Tilikum, Katina, Kasatka, Ulises and Corky believe the SeaWorld San Diego orcas, "should be covered by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that bans slavery and involuntary servitude," explains the L.A. Times.

SeaWorld officials call the allegations "baseless," notes KCET, and want the court to dismiss the lawsuit, filed last October, as a publicity stunt.


"I went to the killer whale, I said, 'killer whale please...what do you do when your true love leaves?'" - M. Ward