Pods of Orcinus orca (aka killer whales, the largest member of the dolphin family) are regular visitors in the waters surrounding Alert Bay.
Some 220 of these magnificent black-and-white predators reside full-time off northern Vancouver Island from June to October, visible from the shores of Alert Bay or on whale-watching expeditions.
Their abundance here is the reason internationally renowned whale researcher Dr. Paul Spong established his OrcaLab on nearby Hanson Island. A favourite haunt for Orcas is the rubbing beach at Robson Bight Ecological Reserve, about 15km/9mi southeast of Alert Bay. The North Island Marine Mammal Stewardship Association is one of several watchdogs who ensure the whales live in harmony with growing numbers of eco-tourists.
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