Grants Database

SR3 Sealife Response, Rehab and Research
Amount Awarded:
Project Title:
Quantitative health metrics for Southern Resident killer whales using non-invasive photogrammetry
Orca Fund, 2022
North Sound/Salish Sea
San Juan County
Project Description:

Since 2008, we have used aerial photogrammetry to develop the only quantitative time series on the health of Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW). Measurements from high-resolution still images, in recent years collected non-invasively using drones (Durban et al. 2015), have provided annual and seasonal measurements of body condition (Fearnbach et al. 2018, 2020) and growth (Fearnbach et al. 2011) for the majority of the population. Notably, our recent publication (Stewart et al. 2021a) showed that individuals measured to be in poor body condition had an elevated risk of mortality, demonstrating that our quantitative identification of “whales of concern” can serve as an early warning system to facilitate enhanced conservation measures.