Orca Identification Catalogue

In this publication, the first of two consecutive catalogue parts on the occurrence of killer whales photographed in the coastal waters of West Iceland from January 2014 to April 2017 is presented.


An overall aim of our year-round identification work both from land and sea is to record as many individual killer whales as possible moving through the area, with as few knowledge gaps as possible, extending fieldwork over the longest achievable period of time. This will help identify potential critical habitat / important feeding grounds of the Icelandic orca population and provide crucial knowledge for conservation measures.
Furthermore, collecting data (and an average of 40,000 photographs) in the same area throughout the year gives unique insights into migration patterns, social structure, and feeding habits of repeatedly documented individuals. The catalogue is thus used as a tool to aid in conservation work, for the long-term monitoring of the population, and as a reference document for ongoing and future research.

Orca Guardians’ core task is to ensure the welfare of individual wild killer whales, and of the Icelandic orca population as a whole. Therefore, any research conducted by Orca Guardians Iceland is critically monitored for its non-invasive character and application of the precautionary approach.

Orca ID Catalogue