A marine mammal survey crew flying over the Beaufort Sea last month spotted surprise visitors – 13 killer whales.
Orcas have been seen before in the Arctic Ocean but are considered unusual that far north.
Their presence may be another indication of changes associated with climate warming but scientists say it’s too soon to draw conclusions.
Research biologist Paul Wade of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory says the orcas may have followed prey – gray whales – to northern waters.
The survey crew spotted the killer whales Aug. 20 just 6.2 miles northeast of Barrow, Alaska.
A second survey crew on board a research vessel spotted 25 to 30 orcas five days later northwest of Barrow in the Chukchi Sea.
- Tlingit battle helmets were designed to inspire fear. The thick, wooden head armor carried imagery of strong warriors, fierce animals or revered ancestors.
- After loss of tax credit payments from the state and construction delays, a Cook Inlet oil company asks for help.
- Two Juneau women were arrested and charged Wednesday after the station wagon they were in struck a pedestrian, according a Juneau Police Department news release.
- A new federal rule will ban smoking in public housing nationwide. The notice was released Wednesday by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and will take effect in 18 months. But Alaska is looking to do that a lot sooner.