Deer takes a dip alongside killer whale off Washington coast, shocking observers
A group of whale watchers got the surprise of a lifetime when they spotted an unlikely visitor swimming alongside a killer whale off the coast of Washington state on Sunday. While watching the whale, named Cooper, breach the water’s surface, the onlookers noticed the head of a deer poking out of the ocean right near Battleship Island in the San Juan Archipelago. A photo captured by one of the watchers showed the surreal moment of the deer swimming right next to the massive orca.
The Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) wrote about the sighting in their daily report, saying, “At Battleship Island, we met up with a lone male Cooper the killer whale. We didn’t realize it at the time, but our photos revealed he swam right past a black-tailed deer!!! What are the odds of that?” The unlikely pairing was captured by team members aboard an Island Adventures Whale Watching boat. The photographer, Sam Murphy, told FOX Weather that the whale, IDed as T124C, showed no interest in the land-dweller and swam right past it. The deer, on the other hand, was likely intimidated by the massive orca passing so closely.
While it’s not unusual for deer to swim in bodies of water, seeing one swim so close to a killer whale was a first for PWWA staffers. Deer are strong swimmers, able to travel several miles through water at speeds of up to 15 mph, according to WorldDeer.org. Whale sightings, however, are commonplace in the area, with nearly 400 killer whales calling the waters off Washington and British Columbia home. The PWWA has reported an increase in sightings in recent years as the ocean gets cleaner and more seals and sea lions are available for the whales to feed on. In fact, they received more than 35,000 sightings of whales and other marine wildlife reported by professional whale watchers and other experts just last year.
Q: Why did the whale swim past the deer without attacking it?
A: The deer has much lower fat content than the whale’s typical prey of blubbery seals and sea lions in the region, so it was likely not of interest to the killer whale.
Q: Are deer strong swimmers?
A: Yes, according to WorldDeer.org, deer are strong swimmers and can travel several miles through water at speeds of up to 15 mph.
Q: How many killer whales call the waters off Washington and British Columbia home?
A: The Pacific Whale Watch Association reports that nearly 400 killer whales call the waters in the area home.
Q: Why are there more whale sightings in recent years?
A: The ocean has gotten cleaner and more seals and sea lions are available for the whales to feed on, leading to an increase in whale sightings.
Observers shocked as deer swims with killer whale in Washington coast.
A group of whale watchers off the coast of Washington state had an unexpected sight during their outing on Sunday. Alongside a killer whale named Cooper, they spotted a tiny head poking out of the ocean. It turned out to be a deer swimming near Battleship Island in the San Juan Archipelago. The surreal moment was captured by Sam Murphy, a team member aboard an Island Adventures Whale Watching boat. Although it’s not unusual for deer to take a dip in the ocean, seeing one swim right by an orca was a first for Pacific Whale Watch Association (PWWA) staffers. PWWA executive director Erin Gless said the deer would have found the encounter intimidating. While killer whale sightings are routine, the surge in numbers of marine wildlife has increased in recent years. Last year, there were more than 35,000 sightings of whales and other marine wildlife reported to the PWWA by professional whale watchers and other experts.