Southern Resident Orca calf appears to be using fish as teething ring

UBC, Hakai institute

A University of British Columbia scientist says he was delightedly caught off guard when he spotted a southern resident killer whale calf appearing to use a fish as her teething ring this summer.

Andrew Trites led a team of researchers monitoring pods of southern and northern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea and off the central coast using aerial drones and sonar.

The team aims to find out whether endangered southern residents are getting enough of their preferred prey, chinook salmon, but Trites says researchers are also learning about whales’ social behaviour and play.

He says the calf holding a fish in her mouth was about three months old and they only drink milk at that age, so scientists considered whether she was teething or just imitating her mom.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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