At least 72 Bigg's killer whales were spotted on Thursday throughout the Salish Sea between Western Washington and Victoria, BC, setting a single-day record, according to the Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA).
Ten different groups of the whales were reported, ranging from the Hood Canal of the Puget Sound all the way north to Vancouver Island’s Campbell River region in British Columbia, the PWWA said in a written release. The largest group — 18 killer whales — was seen near the northern San Juan Islands.
Mark Malleson, a researcher for the Center of Whale Research and longtime guide for Prince of Whales in Victoria, confirmed the single-day record for the Salish Sea.
"This was an awesome community effort with watchers from Campbell River to Puget Sound contributing sightings and photos,” said Monika Wieland Shields, director of the Orca Behavior Institute on San Juan Island. “We wonder how long this increase in Bigg’s killer whales will continue, but they keep setting records. More than 70 in the region in one day is astounding."