The Horde In Our Back Yard
Remember Marlon Perkins' "Wild Kingdom"? We've got something like that on our doorstep only it's not hyenas or lions on the hunt. It's something far bigger, transient orcas. Here is a pair of males spotted yesterday near Nanaimo patrolling the edge of a log boom, a common resting spot for their favourite prey - sea lions.
The transients are relative newcomers. We're more familiar with resident orcas. The residents are fish eaters - salmon, cod, etc. The transients hunt marine mammals - dolphins, seals, sea lions, whale calves. Warming seas to the south have sent a lot of marine life northward in search of cooler waters.
In the map below, the red dots show how, like a Mongol horde, the transients have swept through the Salish Sea, ranging from Seattle to Campbell River on Vancouver Island.
We're also seeing brown bears, Grizzlies, spreading through the Gulf islands and Vancouver Island. Grizzly sightings were once very rare. Not any more. Maybe the cougar will no longer be the Alpha predator on these islands.