Credits to Gary Sutton: https://www.instagram.com/p/BIXsFOLDeeR/ gary_j27: “Not the sharpest shot but one of the better eyeball shots I have got! Spent yesterday evening with J pod members. The best part was hanging out with this girl, J42 “Echo” playing with her younger sister J50 “Scarlet””
Researchers have long used the combination of dorsal fin and saddle patch to identify individual killer whales. Being able to recognise individuals helps them understand more about the social lives of these animals, where they go, who they associate with, and overall how a population is doing. But some whales are never identified. Some because they are so seldom seen, others sadly perish before their photo could ever be taken. A41 is one of those animals. They were born in 1984 into the A24 matriline of the A4 pod, which is part of the Northern Resident community. Sadly A41 passed away within their first year.
A41 never got much recognition. In fact hardly anything is known about this little whale, including gender or appearance. As far as I am aware no photographs of them exists, which is exactly why this piece came into being. This painting was commissioned to show what a dorsal fin ID photo of A41 may have looked like. Although her appearance has been made up, it is informed by those of other members of the A24 matriline. The slightly open saddle in particular is a hint back to A41’s mother A24 ‘Kelsey,’ who had a similar hook in her saddle.
Here’s to all the whales out there who we know or don’t know. Who once were, who are now and who one day will be.
This painting was made as a commission for Achrmy on Deviantart.
In this track you can hear orcas clicking and calling from a recording made with a tag attached to one of the whales in the group using suction cups. You can also hear the sound of water flowing through the tag as the whale speeds up, giving you a real sense of being underwater with them!