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.
- Last week a group of scientists traveled to a small village in the Arctic to find as many different species as they could. It was happening all over the country in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service.
- Newtok residents still waiting for federal government to pay for their village relocation.
- Hillary Clinton could lose California's primary on June 7 and still win the Democratic nomination, but she and Bernie Sanders are campaigning hard there, hoping to close out the season on a high note.