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Tsitika And Her Son By Robert Bateman

By Robert Bateman

We heard the orcas before we saw them. On the boat’s hydrophone their squeals, squeaks, whistles and sighs sounded as if they were echoing in a cavernous space. Finally the mist lifted a little and we saw a phalanx of black dorsal fins not too far off - a family pod. Then the mist swallowed them up again. Perhaps one of the pods we glimpsed on that magical day of whale watching belonged to a whale that researchers have named Tsitika, an orca matriarch whose life history has given me a glimpse into the orca world. Tsitika and her family belong to the northern resident population of British Columbia killer whales. They have a remarkable social system that we are just beginning to understand. - Robert Bateman

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