Here’s another adult male killer whale that has proven difficult to identify.

I’ve only seen him on one occasion—during the July superpod with AP pod, AS30 pod, and the unidentified pod. He does not belong to AP pod or AS30 pod; you might conclude he must belong to the unidentified pod, but we have to be careful when assigning pod designations. It often takes multiple sightings of a group to be able to determine who is in the pod and who is not (a pod is loosely defined as individuals who spend more than 50% of their time with each other).

When I refer to the “unidentified pod,” I am referring to the assemblage of whales that have been identified as not belonging to any known pod of southern Alaska residents. However, I’ve only actually seen a couple of said whales on repeated occasions, and even then they are not always with the same whales all the time.

It is always my hope that this male and all of the other unidentified whales will show up again, but the reality in Alaska is that groups can go several years without being seen, particularly those that spend time in the western Gulf of Alaska where field studies are not regularly conducted. These whales seem to have avoided detection up until 2017/2018! (However, it’s possible they were sighted by biologists in the past and their photos are sitting in a dusty box or old hard drive somewhere—but so far the people who keep track of these whales haven’t identified them either).