Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Whales identified by photos


At least some of the killer whales spotted in Lutak Inlet on Feb. 17 were members of “AG pod,” a fish-eating group of orcas that number up to 35, a NOAA spokesman said this week.

Sadie Wright said scientists inspecting photos of the whales have identified a large male (known as AG 21) and a large female (AG10). \

The photos were taken by Ron Horn of Haines. Differences in the shape and condition of the dorsal fin and characteristics of a gray or white “saddle patch” are used to identify individual whales.

A nick in the dorsal of AG21 also helped identify it, Wright said.

The pod’s range is centered in Southeast Alaska. While it has been spotted in the Panhandle every month of the year, the pod also has been sighted as far north and west as Homer’s Kachemak Bay, Wright said.

Wright previously said that the Lutak sighting of 40 or more orcas may have been a “super-pod,” a mingling of the AG pod with another, smaller pod that sometimes occurs in northern Southeast, typically in April.


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