|20230412| Last minute sighting... Orcas!!
As our crew prepared to go home, surprising news from the spotters arrived! A group of Orca (Orcinus orca) was observed in the South of Pico!
We went immediately according to the spotter Antero's information.
After nearly thirteen minutes of searching, at least fourteen animals were spotted traveling west, with one male, many females, two juveniles, and one calf in the same pod.
It was the biggest group ever sighted by our team!
Orcas are considered data deficient by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which makes our data recording even more important, particularly in the Azores, where distribution, abundance, and migratory patterns are still uncertain.
The photographs will be analyzed and compared with the existing catalog through photo-identification, a non-invasive scientific method to identify individuals in a population. For orcas, this method is particularly important considering that these animals have recognizable geographic forms based mainly on the size, shape, and orientation of the eye patch and saddle.
Here are some of the best pictures of this magnificent sighting!