Site fidelity and behaviour of killer whales (Orcinus orca) at Sea Lion Island in the Southwest Atlantic

O. Yates, A. D. Black, P. Palavecino

Abstract


Using shore-based observations and photographic identification of killer whales (Orcinus orca) at Sea Lion Island (52°26'S,59°05'W) in the Falklands/Malvinas archipelago, we identified a small group (6 to 12 animals) targeting a southern elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) breeding colony. Sightings during 2004-05 and photographic matches from the early 1990s suggest site fidelity. Behavioural observations revealed ambush and shallow water hunting techniques along rocky outcrops and two beaches used by elephant seal pups and juveniles. A single successful attack and three unsuccessful attempts were recorded.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5597/lajam00112

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