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Orcas Return to South Bay

Orcas once again appear off the coast of Redondo Beach and the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

A group of transient orcas is back harassing gray whales and feeding on sea lions in the South Bay, according to the Los Angeles chapter of the American Cetacean Society.

At least seven orcas—commonly known as killer whales—were seen feeding on sea lions Thursday by the sportfishing boat Redondo Special several miles off the coast of Redondo Beach, Phil Friedman reported on his website.

"We have watched them eat at least four sea lions," galley cook Mark Zahza told Friedman. "They were tossing the sea lions in the air like they were rag dolls."

In a Facebook post, ACS volunteer Alisa Schulman-Janiger said the orcas spotted Wednesday belonged to the CA51—who last visited in February—and CA27 groups. A dozen of them off the Palos Verdes Peninsula on Wednesday afternoon.

Transient orcas are normally spotted off Monterey and northern California, according to Pete Thomas of Pete Thomas Outdoors. The attack on the gray whale in the South Bay was the first time in nearly 30 years that volunteers from the ACS-LA Gray Whale Census and Behavior Project witnessed a kill in the area.

This is not the first time the transient orcas have appeared in the South Bay. At least three different groups have made appearances since January.

Diane May 11, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Nature at work. Their experience here is positively reinforcing so they'll be back more and more often now. And word will leak out about the secret new restaurant they found (it will be interesting to see how the "easy eats" message travels from one pod to others).
Melissa Sutton May 11, 2012 at 04:59 PM
Why is this article so negative? Orcas need to eat too. They are not the first predators to go after easy targets like babies. It's just nature and the way it works.
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) May 11, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Hi Melissa— I don't know what you mean by the article being negative. A gray whale calf kill is a very rare event this far south, so it's certainly newsworthy. And last time the orcas showed up, they chased another gray whale into a kelp bed off the Peninsula.
Nicki May 11, 2012 at 07:35 PM
I saw a pod of 4 orcas off of Anacapa Island the first week of April. They were chasing gray whales also. Up to this point, of the 20 years that I have sailed off of Channel Islands, this is the first time I have ever seen Orcas there. The migratory pods are the most predatory...the resident pods don't travel far from home base.
Zein E. Obagi May 12, 2012 at 04:11 AM
This is great! What a nice story about the circle of life and natural eco system on our coast.
Nicole Mooradian (Editor) May 12, 2012 at 05:06 AM
Check out the video I just added of the aftermath of the gray whale calf kill. It's pretty amazing—orcas are awesome creatures.
Reza Gostar May 12, 2012 at 07:26 AM
One day they're going to write fishing limericks about Phil Friedman's adventures. Great video. :)

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