Bigg's (Transient) Killer Whales

Previously known as transient killer whales, Bigg’s killer whales were renamed in honour of the late pioneer killer whale researcher Dr. Michael Bigg who discovered at least two types of killer whale that inhabit the coastal waters of British Columbia (B.C.). Bigg’s killer whales roam over large areas of the British Columbia coast and beyond in smaller groups, feeding on marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even other whales. Bigg’s have a much looser social structure than resident killer whales and do not usually form large kinship groupings. Learn more about Bigg’s killer whales. 

Most killer whales in the Bigg’s population are named after specific places off the coast of B.C., such as Stanlet (T123A) who was named after Stanley Park in Vancouver, Bigg’s whales in the adoption program are named by the researchers who study these whales.

Killer whales from four groups in the B.C. west coast Bigg’s (transient) population are available for adoption. Each whale’s scientific number, adoption name, sex (if known), and year of birth are listed below. Click on the individual whales for more information and to view their family tree. 

T2 Group

T2B Pedder (♀ 1979)

T2C Tasu (♀ 1989)

T2C1 Rocky (♂ 2002)

T2C2 Tumbo (♂ 2005)

T2C3 Lucy (♀ 2011)

T2C4 Kano (? 2017)

T10 Group

T10 Langara (♀ 1963)

T10C Bones (♂ 1999)

T18 Group

T18 Esperanza (♀ 1974)

T19 Mooyah (♀ 1969)

T19B Galiano (♂ 1995)

T19C Spouter (♂ 2001)

T123 Group

T123 Sidney (♀ 1985)

T123A Stanley (♂ 2000)

T123C Lucky (♀ 2012)

T123D Darcy (♀ 2018)

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Bigg’s killer whales do not vocalize or echolocate as much as resident killer whales to avoid detection by their prey. They also engage in conspicuous activities like breaching and playing at the surface less frequently than residents However, Bigg’s often engage in dramatic activity while attacking their prey. Depending on the size of the animal being pursued, they may ram their prey sometimes knocking it into the air, strike it with their tails, or swim on top of it to force it underwater until it drowns.

Adopt a Killer Whale

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Pedder (T2B)

Named after Pedder Bay near Victoria, B.C., Pedder (T2B) is an adult female killer whale who was born in 1979. Pedder has a sister, Tasu (T2C), and is aunt to her four offspring - Rocky (T2C1), Tumbo (T2C2), Lucy (T2C3), and Kano (T2C4).

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Tasu (T2C)

Named after Tasu Sound on the west coast of Haida Gwaii, Tasu (T2C) is an adult female killer whale who was born in 1989. Tasu has four calves: sons Rocky (T2C1) and Tumbo (T2C2), daughter Lucy (T2C3), and a new calf, Kano (T2C4), born in 2018. Tasu is likely related to the famous white killer whale, Alice, who was often seen along the coast of British Columbia during the 1950s.

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Rocky (T2C1)

Named after Rocky Point near Victoria on the south coast of Vancouver Island, Rocky (T2C1) is a male killer whale who was born in 2002. Rocky is the first calf of Tasu (T2C) and has three younger siblings - Tumbo (T2C2), Lucy (T2C3), and Kano (T2C4).

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Tumbo (T2C2) 

Named after Tumbo Island near Saturna Island in the Strait of Georgia, Tumbo (T2C2) is a male killer whale who was born in 2005. Tumbo has a distinct kink in his back and researchers believe this is possibly caused by scoliosis. Tumbo is the second calf of Tasu (T2C) and has an older brother, Rocky (T2C1); a younger sister, Lucy (T2C3); and a new sibling, Kano (T2C4).

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Lucy (T2C3) 

Named after Lucy Island off the northern end of Haida Gwaii, Lucy (T2C3) is a young female killer whale who was born in 2011. Lucy is the third calf of Tasu (T2C) and she has two older brothers, Rocky (T2C1) and Tumbo (T2C2); and a new younger sibling, Kano (T2C4), born in 2017.

 

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Kano (T2C4) 

Named after Kano Inlet located on the west coast of Haida Gwaii, Kano (T2C4) is a young killer whale born in 2017. It is not yet known whether Kano is male or female. Kano is the fourth calf of Tasu (T2C) and has two older brothers, Rocky (T2C1) and Tumbo (T2C2); and a sister Lucy (T2C3).

 

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Langara (T10)

Named after Langara Island at the northwest corner of Haida Gwaii, Langara (T10) is an adult female killer whale thought to have been born in 1963. In 1975, Langara was one of six whales captured in Pedder Bay near Victoria. She and three other whales were released after the government of British Columbia declared a moratorium on future captures. She has one remaining living offspring, - Bones (T10C).

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Bones (T10C)

Named after Bones Bay in Clio Channel north of west Cracroft Island near Johnstone Strait, Bones (T10C) is a male killer whale who was born in 1999. Bones is the third known and only surviving calf of Langara (T10). Most recently, Bones' older brother, Siwash (T10B) passed away in 2018.

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

 

Esperanza (T18)

Named after Esperanza Inlet on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Esperanza (T18) is an adult female killer whale who was born sometime between 1954 and 1974. She is thought to be the mother of her constant travel companion Mooyah (T19). She is grandmother to Mooyah's sons - Galiano (T19B) and Spouter (T19C).

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Mooyah (T19)

Named after Mooyah Bay in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Mooyah (T19) is an adult female killer whale who was born sometime around 1969. Mooyah has two offspring - sons Galiano (T19B) and Spouter (T19C). The family travels with Esperanza (T18), Mooyah's mother.

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Galiano (T19B)

Named after Galiano Bay in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Galiano (T19B) is a male killer whale who was born in 1995. Galiano's mother is Mooyah (T19) and he has a younger brother, Spouter (T19C). 

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Spouter (T19C)

Named after Spouter Island in Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, Spouter (T19C) is a young male killer whale who was born in 2001. Spouter's mother is Mooyah (T19) and he has an older brother, Galiano (T19B). 

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Sidney (T123)

Named after Sidney Island off the east side of southern Vancouver Island, Sidney (T123) is an adult female killer whale who is thought to have been born in 1985. She has three living calves - Stanley (T123A), Lucky (T123C), and Darcy (T123D). 

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Stanley (T123A)

Named after Stanley Park in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Stanley (T123A) is a male killer whale who was born in 2000. Stanley received his name after her made a rare visit to Vancouver's inner harbour in May 2011.  He has two younger sisters - Lucky (T123C) and Darcy (T123D).

 

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Lucky (T123C)

Named after Lucky Creek that flows into Clayoquot Sound, Lucky (T123C) is a young female killer whale born in 20120. She has two living siblings: brother Stanley (T123A) and newborn calf, Darcy (T123D).

Bigg's (Transient) population status courtesy of Towers et al., 2019 and Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Darcy (T123D)

Named after D'Arcy Shoals off Saanich, Darcy (T123D) is a young female killer whale born in 2018. Darcy's mother is Sidney (T123) and she has two older siblings - brother Stanley (T123A), and sister Lucky (T123C).