Orcas in Puerto Deseado

A new thrill for wildlife fans.

Eight orcas were sighted by tourists during an excursion to Penguin Island near the Santa Cruz port of Puerto Deseado, the city tourist office announced. It is not common to see them here; the last sighting took place two years ago. The animals are believed to have been in transit from a feeding ground off a reserve further south to Bahía Camarones or Bahía Bustamante in the neighboring province of Chubut. The photos taken of their white markings – those of each individual are unique – will be compared with pictures taken of orcas in the other reserves to see if these animals are the same ones that hang out there.
The big cetaceans were sighted on Oct. 27 by the 16 passengers of a Darwin Expediciones boat that was one its way to the island to take pictures of the rockhopper penguin rookery for which it is famed.
There were two adult males, two adult females and two juveniles – an orca family. The male of the species has a two-meter-high dorsal fin and can be up to eight meters long. Penguin Island and an islet near it are home to large colonies of sea lions, a favorite prey of orcas. The tourists spent nearly two hours taking pictures of the visitors.

PHOTO CREDIT: An orca within view of the Penguin Island lighthouse. Tree members of the pod play near the island. Both from Darwin Expediciones / Puerto Deseado Tourist Office / Iggy.