7 Jul 2009
Conservation of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Russian Far East: Protecting Food Resources and Promoting Environmental Stewardship
Conservation of Killer Whales (Orcinus orca) in the Russian Far East: Promoting Evidence of Two Separate Species
Estimation of possible impact of capturing and promoting public awareness.
Our study take place around Starichkov Island in the Avacha Gulf of Kamchatka, 30 km from the city Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. We individually recognize the whales by the method of photoidentification using catalogue of photographs of the Far East Russia Orca Project. We record orca sounds from the inflatable boat using hydrophones and DAT recorder. To distinguish between sounds of several orca groups when they travel together we use the device for underwater acoustic localization. Laboratory analysis is conducted at the Department of Vertebrate Zoology of Moscow State University. Different orca pods have different vocal dialects, and different populations have totally different vocal traditions, thus the analysis of sounds will allow us to establish which groups are the members of which pods and how many pods and populations are there in total in Eastern Kamchatka.
To attract the attention of specialists to the problem we attended the Third International Biennial Conference “Marine Mammals of Holarctic” in Ukraine in October 2004. We presented our project and told the scientific community about the possible consequences of killer whale capturing. We also showed the video-film made from our field footage about Kamchatkan killer whales in the wild and a threat of their capturing. We prepare the scientific paper about killer whale status in Eastern Kamchatka.