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Pod of killer whales spotted in Santa Barbara Channel

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Posted at 3:11 PM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 00:54:52-04

A pod of killer whales was spotted in the Santa Barbara Channel over the weekend.

Santa Barbara resident and local boat owner Tyler Reynolds saw the pod about seven miles from the harbor on Saturday, Oct. 30, while he and his wife were returning from Santa Cruz Island.

Reynolds captured video of the whales, which can be seen splashing and jumping near the water's surface.

"It's such a rare event to see these animals in our channel, so I'm excited to share this with people," Reynolds said.

Experts with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region said the killer whales can be seen in the area occasionally. They say the whales are known to hunt sea lions and sometimes dolphins.

In the video the group of five killer whales can be seen playing with a dolphin they have caught.

The whales are Biggs transient killer whales, Alisa Schulman-Janiger, Lead Research Biologist for the California Killer Whale Project, told KSBY. She identified the whales as the CA140Bs, which include Louise and her three offspring. Swimming with the family is a whale known as female CA23A2.

Schulman-Janiger says the group is among the more commonly seen pods in the area.

Andrea Mills, Education Coordinator with Island Packers Cruises, which offers whale watching tours around the Channel Islands, said the cruises average only six sightings of killer whales per year.

Other whales that can be seen in channel throughout the year include gray, blue, humpback and fin whales.