HONOLULU (KHON2) — A rare sighting of orcas off West Oahu on Thursday, Nov. 3, is keeping officials at the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) busy.
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While killer whales are seen around the world, they’re not usually seen in Hawaiian waters. Researchers are hoping to learn what brought them here.
NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Research Ecologist, Amanda Bradford, believes resources like food and other productivity around the islands occasionally draw the animals to warm waters.
“We think they have a really diverse diet feeding on everything from bony fish to marine mammals to sharks to turtles,” stated Bradford.
Another theory suggests a population of orcas evolved for tropical climates, according to Bradford.
While there is ongoing research on the phenomena, the NOAA’s survey team is looking for a chance to tag the killer whales for more data collection.