Text: Tatiana Ivkovich
If you know something about killer whale social organisation, you probably know that resident (fish-eating) killer whales live in family groups. Resident killer whale family group is a group of close maternal relatives, which spend all their life together. The family usually consists of a matriarch and her offspring: daughters, sons, and grandchildren. Both females and males stay with their mother for their entire life.
Killer whales from the same family are always close to each other, so if you see one resident killer whale, you can be sure that you will see another soon.
They also like to gather in multi-group aggregations.
The large multi-group aggregation near Opasny Cape in 2004.
But there is a male in Avacha Gulf community...
We met him in 2005. He was always near other orcas, but almost never in tight groups. We could not identify which group he belonged to.
Most often he was together with Businka family. On this photo Brodyaga is together with Zheka from Busika family, whom we observed only in 2005.
After 2006 he dissappeared. We thought that he had died. But we met him again in 2010. It was a unique encounter. For the first time we saw the resident killer whale absolutely alone.
Brodyaga on the background of Kekurny Cape in 2010.
He was milling in Listvennichnaya Bay and once started to call the stereotyped sounds from 0209 pod dialect. It was unusual to hear notheing in reply - usually other reoly to these sounds.
We followed him for several hours. He left the bay and went to the north. About 20 km to the north he met other orcas, who were travelling from the north. He joined them and went back to the south with that group.
Brodyaga in 2006 on the background of our capin on Starichkov Island.
Most likely, Brodyaga lost his close relatives.