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 Featured Title
Mammal-Hunting Killer Whales of B.C., Washington State, and Southeast Alaska
John K.B. Ford   Graeme M. Ellis  

$26.95 Paperback
Release Date: 4/1/1999
ISBN: 9780774807173    

96 Pages

World rights except United States


About the Book

Killer Whales are found in all oceans of the world, but nowhere are they better known than in the coastal waters of British Columbia, Washington, and southeastern Alaska. Twenty-five years of study in this region have yielded many surprising discoveries about the natural history of this species. One of the most remarkable is that two genetically distinct forms of killer whales reside in these waters. These whales do not associate and each leads a completely different lifestyle: residents specialize on a diet of salmon and other fishes, while transients are hunter of seals, sea lions, porpoises, and even large whales.

This book focuses on transient killer whales. Enigmatic and elusive, these mammal-hunting whales are difficult animals to study. They travel in small groups, often moving unpredictably, which makes them less conspicuous than the larger resident pods. For these and other reasons, our understanding of the life history and ecology of transient killer whales has lagged behind that of residents.

Transients contains the latest information on the natural history of transient killer whales, including their feeding habits, social lives, and distribution patterns. The catalogue section contains photographs of and notes on over 200 individual whales. Numerous sidebars contain interesting observations on encounters with transients as well as information on how and where to best watch them.

About the Author(s)

John K.B. Ford is former head of marine mammal research at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre and an adjunct professor in the Department of Zoology and the Marine Mammal Research Unit at the University of British Columbia. He is currently marine mammal biologist at the Pacific Biological Station, Nanaimo, B.C.

Graeme M. Ellis is a marine mammal technician at the Pacific Biological Station, Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Nanaimo, B.C.

Both authors, along with Kenneth C. Balcomb, wrote Killer Whales, published in 1995 by UBC Press.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments

Natural History of Transient Killer Whales
Population Identity, Range and Size
Seasonal and Annual Distribution
Feeding Habits
Social Structure
Vocal Behaviour and Dialects
Population Parameters
Watching Transient Killer Whales
Transient Activities and Behaviours
Where to find transients
Watching transients without disturbing them
Catalogue of Transient Killer Whales
Determining Community Membership
The Naming System
Catalogue composition and organization
Sex and Year of Birth


A major contribution has been made to understand the magical world of B.C.'s killer whales with the release of this book. offers a scholarly yet readable account of their behaviour and habits. The book captures their distinct way of life.
-- Charlie Anderson, The Province

Beautifully illustrated, this book contains the latest information on the natural history of transient killer whales and how and where to watch them.
-- University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries (2000)

Sample Chapter

A sample chapter of this title is not available at this time. For further information, please email

Related Topics

Natural History > Zoology
Natural History
BC Studies
BC Studies > Natural History

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of Transients from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

2001 UBC Press
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