I love the feeling of excitement when you make important matches!
As many of you know, I have been trying for the last year to identify and study a mysterious pod of killer whales that has shown up in Kachemak Bay. While I’ve been able to consistently identify one large male across all encounters with these whales, I have not been able to cross match other members of the pod until now.
Because they have always been seen in the company of identified but poorly known pods, it has made identifying individual members of this mystery pod a nightmare. They associate with whales whose ID photos are often not updated, so it was hard to know if the unidentifiable whales I was seeing in my photos were truly members of this new pod or just poor quality photos of whales from other pods that have already been documented.
However, I recently made a successful match between encounters of one member of the mystery pod! This female was seen on two occasions with the large male from the mystery pod and does not match any other known Alaskan resident killer whale, so I can be confident that this female belongs to this mystery pod. It will take many more encounters with these whales to fully understand pod composition and structure.