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Transient Orcas Spotted off Pt. Vicente

A pod of transient orcas—commonly known as killer whales—are spotted swimming off the coast of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

A pod of orcas—commonly known as killer whales—spotted Saturday afternoon may include "Chopfin," a well-known transient orca who's been seen as far south as Dana Point, according to Alisa Schulman-Janiger from the American Cetacean Society - Los Angeles chapter.

In a blog post on his website, Patch columnist Phil Friedman said Saturday's orcas were first spotted by Carolina Salas as she and her father Danny were driving near Point Vicente on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

Danny Salas, who is the captain of the Christopher out of Harbor Breeze Cruises in Long Beach, told Friedman that it appeared the orcas were hunting a group of dolphins.

"It looked to us like they were eating the dolphin," Salas said. "The dolphin reacted like they were in fear for their lives—not only jumping out of the water, but swimming in every direction, looking confused."

Though the orcas appeared to be heading south to Long Beach, the Redondo Beach-based found the whales again at about 4 p.m.

"They were about (one) mile off of the Trump (National) Golf Course, headed east," Schulman-Janiger wrote on the ACS-LA Facebook page. "I need to see the pics—but I think that I know who these are!"

Schulman-Janiger also said that there may be up to seven orcas in the pod.

Transient orcas are generally a rare sight in Southern California; they're most often seen off the coast of Monterey in Northern California.

Contrary to popular belief, orcas are the largest dolphins—not whales. Orcas can eat up to 100 pounds of food per day, or 5 percent of their body weight. They also swim up to 30 miles per hour.

tom April 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM
Are these transient orcas different from the L.A. pod?

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