Killer whales core of study

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For the fifth year, marine biologist and researcher Rebecca Wellard will continue her research into orcas, or killer whales, at Bremer Bay.

With little known about the species in Australian waters, Project ORCA (Orca Research and Conservation Australia) has been conducting research on killer whales found in WA waters since 2014.

Researchers are using photo identification and passive acoustic monitoring to study the population of killer whales off Bremer Bay.

Bec Wellard.
Camera IconBec Wellard.

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In WA, killer whales are usually found only in Bremer Canyon and Ningaloo Reef.

“In WA there’s only myself and a colleague who are researching into killer whales” Ms Wellard said. “We’re a very small killer whale research team but it’s pretty exciting because there’s no one else who is doing it and no one else who has done it.” Ms Wellard said the killer whale population she found in Bremer Bay has not matched up with any other species in Australia.

“I feel that they might stay within the south coast region, just because of the fact that we haven’t matched them with the east Australian or the central west Australian,” she said.

Killer whales at Bremer Canyon.
Camera IconKiller whales at Bremer Canyon. Credit: Pictures: Bec Wellard

Ms Wellard hopes to see more funding coming through for her fifth site visit to Bremer Bay.

“It’s really surprising that no research has been done on these guys — they are the apex predators of the ocean.”

”They have a huge role on the eco-system, so you think that we will be putting more money and time into researching them.”

To find out more information on Project ORCA, please visit the crowdfunding website at https://pozible.com/project/project-orca-killer-whale-research-1

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